Wildlife officials in Colorado are looking 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 over the weekend.
The man was sitting in an in-ground hot tub around 8 p.m. Saturday when it happened, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) said in a press release Monday. Four wildlife officers responded to the scene in a heavily wooded subdivision about five miles west of Nathrop along Chalk Creek in Chaffee County.
"The victim had four superficial scratches on top of his head and near his right ear," the press release reads.
By the time officials arrived, the man had cleaned the wounds and declined any medical assistance.
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The unidentified victim told officers he felt something grab his head before he and his wife began screaming and splashing water on the animal. The victim’s wife grabbed a flashlight and shined it on the animal, which they then identified as a mountain lion
The animal retreated to the top of a hill where it continued to watch the couple.
The couple was then able to make it back inside the rental home, where they called the property owner, who happens to be a CPW employee, who alerted officers.
"The couple did the right thing by making noise and shining a light on the lion. Although this victim had only minor injuries, we take this incident seriously. We have alerted neighbors and posted signs warning of lion activity. And we will continue to track the lion and lion activity," said Sean Shepherd, area wildlife manager based in Salida.
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State wildlife officers immediately began searching for the big cat along a steep ridge near a creek but could not find any tracks in the frozen snow. However, 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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.