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Mountain lion attacks man soaking in hot tub, Colorado wildlife officials say

March 22, 2023 Updated Wed., March 22, 2023 at 8:10 p.m.

A mountain lion in the wild.  (Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS)
A mountain lion in the wild. (Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS)
By Conrad Swanson The Denver Post The Denver Post

A mountain lion sneaked up on a couple Saturday night as they soaked in a hot tub west of Nathrop, Colorado, Parks and Wildlife officials said in a release.

The two sat in their vacation rental’s tub around 8 p.m. when the man felt something grab his head, CPW spokesman Bill Vogrin said in a release.

“He and his wife began screaming and splashing water at the animal,” he said.

The woman grabbed a flashlight and shined it on the cougar, which began backing up, Vogrin said. As the couple continued screaming, the animal moved to the top of a nearby hill where it watched the couple until they left the tub and went inside.

The couple cleaned the man’s wounds and called state wildlife officials, who arrived and began searching for the mountain lion, Vogrin said.

The man suffered four scratches to the top of his head and near his right ear, but declined additional medical assistance, Vogrin said. State wildlife officials decided against tracking the cougar with dogs because of the nearby housing developments and hot springs resort. Instead they set a trap to try and catch it.

“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,” Sean Shepherd, CPW area wildlife manager based in Salida, said. “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,” Shepherd said.

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