NATHROP, Colo. — Wildlife officials said Monday they are searching for a mountain lion that scratched 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 a buried hot tub in a wooded subdivision west of Nathrop Saturday night when he felt something grab his head, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. He yelled at the cougar and started splashing water as his wife shined a flashlight on the animal.
Authorities said he retreated to the top of a hill and continued to watch the couple.
The man and his wife were able to return to 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 the top of his head and near his right ear, but he refused medical treatment.
“We think it likely the cougar saw the man’s head moving in the darkness at ground level, but didn’t recognize the people in the hot tub,” said Sean Shepherd, Salida-based area wildlife manager. «The couple did the right thing by making noise and lighting the lion.»
State wildlife officers immediately began searching for the big cat along a steep hill near a stream, but could find no tracks in the frozen snow. But they set a trap nearby and will continue to monitor cougar activity near Nathrop, a mountainous area known for its outdoor activities.
Saturday night’s encounter was the first cougar attack on a person in Colorado since February 2022. Wildlife authorities say at least 27 people have been injured in cougar attacks in Colorado since 1990, three of them fatal. .