THIS is the terrifying moment a mountain lion sprang out of nowhere and chased after a man as he went for a hike.
In the short clip, the animal emerges from the undergrowth and hurtles towards the unsuspecting hiker.
Its tan fur expertly camouflaged the big cat in with its surroundings in the hills close to Los Angeles, California, where the scary encounter took place.
The video opens with the man walking over the crest of a hill towards a lake below.
Suddenly, he turns around to see the mountain lion just 10 feet away from him.
“Oh s***!” the man screams as he sees the animal, backing away as the lion breaks into a run.
After a couple of seconds of sprinting, the man turns again and roars twice loudly at the lion to scare it away.
The animal then scampers away into the undergrowth again, where it disappears from view.
It comes months after a brave mum fought off a mountain lion when it attacked her son.
The youngster was playing near his home in Calabasas, California, when the huge 65-pound beast pounced on him and dragged him “about 45 yards” across their garden, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Spokesman Patrick Foy said: “The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life.”
The parents immediately took their son to hospital, while a wildlife officer was sent to the scene to track down the animal.
“Once at the house, the officer discovered a mountain lion crouching in the bushes with its ears back and hissing at him,” Foy went on.
He said she had heard a commotion outside and ran out of the house where she started “punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands,” pulling him off her son.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on site.”
The boy suffered traumatic injuries to the head and upper torso, but was in a stable condition at a Los Angeles hospital after the attack.
Another mountain lion spotted nearby was tranquilised and released into the wild unharmed after authorities tested it to make sure it wasn’t the animal involved in the attack.
In a more recent attack in California, a mountain lion broke into a family home and almost ate a pet dog at the Painted Cave community in Santa Barbara County.
The animal smashed through a glass door at Ted Adams’ home and tried to snatch up his sister’s pet Buddy, Noozhawk reported.
Buddy’s owners heard a loud barking downstairs, followed by “a tremendous crash,” Ted said.
“The French door down there was just completely smashed open, and there’s a gaping hole there.
“We figured that the lion had come in, grabbed the dog, and left.”
But they soon found the big cat hadn’t escaped the house, and was “bouncing off the walls” trying to escape with a terrified Buddy still in its mouth.
They sprayed the lion with bear spray twice and opened up the French doors before it ran away.
Mountain lions can grow up to 90cm tall and reach speeds of 80km/h.
Native to the Americas, they are increasingly coming into contact with humans as we intrude on their territory through expanded population.
In 1920, there were estimated to be just 600 mountain lions, and in 1990, it was made a “specially protected mammal,” making it illegal to kill or injure them.
Now, there are estimated to be between 4,000 and 6,000 living in the state alone.
In California between 1986, there were 12 mountain lion attacks on humans, including three deaths.
Lions may attack humans if they feel cornered, or if a fleeing person stimulates their instinct to chase, or if they feel cornered.
Making eye contact with the animal, making a loud noise, or fighting back can often scare them off.
In October 2019, a California man was jailed after shooting dead a mountain lion in the Santa Susana Mountains.
Alfredo Gonzalez, 60, pleaded guilty to the unlawful killing of the protected animal and vandalising its tracking collar.
He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and also ordered to pay restitution after shooting the animal in the head in July of that year.