A mountain lion clawed the head of a man who was in a hot tub with his wife and has evaded wildlife officials who began searching for the animal.
The man was attacked at around 8pm on Saturday at his rental home in Nathrop, Colorado, said officials from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) on Monday. The two people involved in this incident were not identified by officials.
The man had felt something grab his head, said CPW spokesperson Bill Vogrin in a statement.
“He and his wife began screaming and splashing water at the animal,” he said.
The panicked wife soon grabbed a flashlight to scare off the mountain lion. The animal soon retreated.
Mr Vogrin said the couple continued to scream at the lion, which then moved to the top of a nearby hill.
The couple went inside their rental and cleaned the man’s wounds.
Soon, they informed the state wildlife officials about the attack, Mr Vogrin said.
“We think it’s likely the mountain lion saw the man’s head move in the darkness at ground level but didn’t recognise the people in the hot tub,” Sean Shepherd, a CPW area wildlife manager based in Salida, said in the statement.
“The couple did the right thing by making noise and shining a light on the lion.
“We have alerted neighbours and posted signs warning of lion activity. And we will continue to track the lion and lion activity,” he said.
The state’s wildlife officials have also set up a trap to catch the predator.
The man suffered four scratches to the top of his head and near his right ear. He, however, declined any additional medical assistance.
The CPW said the last mountain lion attack on a person took place on 27 February last year. Saturday’s incident is the 24th such reported lion attack on a human since 1990.
The agency also said in its statement that while mountain lion attacks “are relatively rare”, it was important for residents to know how to avoid or manage any potential encounters.