For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Pixabay

A Canadian woman owes her life to Metallica, the heavy rock group, whose 1991 hit Don’t Tread on Me scared off a hostile cougar.

Dee Gallant encountered the wild cat during an evening stroll on Vancouver Island with Murphy, her eight-year-old husky retriever. “I thought I’d just take Murphy for a little hike like we usually do,” she told Canada Global News. “It was an evening so it started to get a bit dusky. We got a little ways up and I saw something watching me.

“I looked off to my right, and there he was, staring at me. At first, I wasn’t intimidated,” she added. “I thought, ‘Wow. This is really cool. Look at that cougar.’ Then I thought, ‘Wait a minute, that’s a cougar’.”

She initially decided to try to film the animal as it approached, before appreciating the danger she — and Murphy — faced. The chances of escaping a cougar, which can run at 50mph, are slim.

Ms Gallant, 45, hoped to intimidate the beast by waving her arms and shouting, but to no avail as the cougar continued heading towards her. Then inspiration struck.

She scoured through her iPhone’s music library and played the heavy rock classic at full blast. “I thought it was perfect because it gives him the message that I want to send, and it’s a really intimidating-sounding song.

“I immediately put it on and I held it up high in the air,” she continued. “As soon as he heard the first note, he bolted. He was just gone.”

On average six attacks by cougars, also known as mountain lions, are reported in North America each year, although only one proves fatal.