Man in hot tub attacked by mountain lion in Colorado

NATHROP, Colo. — A man was clawed by a mountain lion Saturday as he and his wife were relaxing in the hot tub of their rental home, according to wildlife officials.

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In a news release, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife said a man was in an in-ground hot tub and was “clawed in the head” around 8 p.m. by a mountain lion. Four officers with Colorado Parks and Wildlife went to the home in Nathrop, Colorado.

The man told officers that he and his wife were in the hot tub outside their rental house when he felt something grab his head, the agency said according to KUSA.

When they saw it was a mountain lion, they began to scream and splash water at it, the man said. His wife then grabbed a flashlight and turned the light toward it. The mountain lion moved back about 20 feet from the hot tub, according to the couple.

The couple continued to yell at the mountain lion as it moved up the hill nearby and watched the man and woman, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said, according to the news outlet. The couple then got out of the hot tub and went inside the rental house.

The man sustained what was described as superficial scratches on the top of his head near his right ear. By the time officers arrived, the man cleaned the wounds. He declined medical attention.

Wildlife officers began to search for the mountain lion which they said was difficult to track due to the snow and freezing temperatures. Officers decided to not use dogs, instead using a trap to try to catch the mountain lion.

“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, in the news release. “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.”

Saturday’s incident was the first reported attack by a mountain lion on a human in the state since Feb. 27, 2022, and it was the 24th known attack with injury to a human in the state since 1990. Three mountain lion attacks in Colorado since 1990 have been deadly.