Nathrop, CO (AP) – Wildlife officials said Monday they are searching for a mountain lion that clawed a man’s head while he was sitting in a hot tub with his wife at a rental home in central Colorado.
The man was soaking in the in-ground hot tub in a wooded subdivision west of Nathrop on Saturday night when he felt something grab his head, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. He screamed at the mountain lion and started splashing water while his wife shined a flashlight at the animal.
Authorities said it retreated to the top of a hill and continued to watch the couple.
The man and his wife were able to get back into the home, where they cleaned his wounds and called the property owner, who happened to work for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The man had four superficial scratches on top of his head and near his right ear, but he declined medical treatment.
“We think it’s likely the mountain lion saw the man’s head move in the darkness at ground-level but didn’t recognize the people in the hot tub,” said Sean Shepherd, area wildlife manager based in Salida. “The couple did the right thing by making noise and shining a light on the lion.”
State wildlife officers immediately began searching for the big cat along a steep ridge near a creek but couldn’t find any tracks in the frozen snow. But they set a trap nearby and will continue to monitor mountain lion activity near Nathrop, a mountainous area known for its outdoor activities.
Saturday night’s encounter was the first reported mountain lion attack on a person in Colorado since February 2022. Wildlife officials say at least 27 people have been injured in mountain lion attacks in Colorado since 1990, three of them fatally.