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Mountain lion attacks man in hot tub at Colorado rental home

A mountain lion clawed at a man’s head as he and his wife were relaxing in a hot tub on a Colorado rental property this month, according to officials.

The victim was lounging in the hot tub when the lion attacked in a heavily wooded area along the Chalk Creek in Chaffee County around 8 p.m. on March 18, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said in a news release.

The man told authorities he felt something grab his wife before the terrified couple splashed water and screamed at the animal.

The wife then grabbed a flashlight and pointed it toward the lion, wildlife officials said. The husband and wife kept shouting at the mountain lion and it eventually retreated to the top of a hill where it crouched down and watched as the couple scurried back to the rental house.

The husband had four superficial scratches on the top of his head and near his right eye. Officers who inspected the wounds said it matched the claw of a mountain lion.

The mountain lion was not found by authorities after the attack.

The pair called the rental home’s owner, who happens to be a Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer, who then contacted the agency.  

While the injuries were minor and didn’t require medical care, Sean Shepherd, an area wildlife manager, said the agency takes the incident “seriously.”

“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. The couple did the right thing by making noise and shining a light on the lion,” Shepherd said, adding the agency has alerted neighbors and posted signage to warn of lion activity.

After officers were notified of the March 18 attack, they immediately began searching for the lion in freezing conditions with frozen snow on the ground, officials said.

The incident this month is the first reported mountain lion attack on a person in Colorado since Feb. 2022 and is the 24th attack by a mountain lion that led to injury since 1990.