Mountain lion claws man’s head while he relaxes in hot tub, Colorado officials say

A man was clawed in the head by a mountain lion as he relaxed in a hot tub with his wife, wildlife officials in Colorado said.

The man first felt “something grab his head” when he was in the water around 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 18, at a home near Nathrop in Chaffee County, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said in a news release.

The couple was soaking in an in-ground hot tub away from the home they were renting, wildlife officials said.

When the mountain lion clawed the man’s head, his wife screamed and splashed water at it, officials said. She then shined a flashlight on the animal, realizing it was a mountain lion.

It then backed about 20 feet away from them. The two continued to scream at the animal until it moved to the top of a hill where it watched them, officials said.

They were able to get out of the hot tub and go inside the home.

The man, who had four scratches on the top of his head and on the right side of his ear, cleaned the wounds.

Once wildlife officers got to the home, he declined medical attention, officials said.

Wildlife officers looked for the mountain lion, but couldn’t find it or tracks because of the “freezing temperatures and frozen snow on the ground.”

A trap was set for the animal nearby, officials said.

“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,” Wildlife Manager Sean Shepherd said in the 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,” Shepherd said.

Shepherd said wildlife officers warned neighbors about the lion, and they will continue to track it.

Nathrop is about 125 miles southwest of Denver.

What to do if a mountain lion is on your property

Mountain lion attacks are rare, but if one is spotted on a person’s property there are several precautions people can take, wildlife officials said.

First, make noise if you are coming and going during times when mountain lions are active: from dusk to dawn.

Add outdoor lighting to walkway areas to be able to spot if a mountain lion is around.

Officials also said to watch children when they play outside and bring them in before dusk and before dawn.

Avoid planting shrubs that deer eat because it “encourages wildlife to come onto your property. Predators follow prey,” officials said.

Wildlife officials also said roaming pets can attract wildlife to a property, so it’s important to bring them in at night and avoid feeding them outside.

And livestock should be put in a shed or barn that is closed at night.

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