Man in Hot Tub Attacked by Mountain Lion in Nathrop, CO

Julia Schneemann | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Mountain Lion
Mountain Lion. | Picture: Colorado Parks and Wildlife Website

A man sitting in an in-ground hot tub near Nathrop, CO, was clawed in the head by a mountain lion on Saturday night, March 18, 2023. The victim was sitting in the hot tub with his wife around 8 p.m. when something grabbed his head. He and his wife began screaming and splashing water at the animal to scare it away. The victim’s wife also used a flashlight, and the animal retreated about 20 feet away from the couple, enabling them to return to their rental home.

The victim had four superficial scratches on the top of his head and near his ear but did not need medical assistance. The couple alerted their landlord, who happened to be a Colorado Parks and Wildlife (‘CPW’) employee. The owner contacted four CPW officers who inspected the wound at the rental home. The officers determined the injuries were consistent with the claw of a mountain lion and proceeded to search the area for any signs of the mountain lion. No tracks could be found due to the freezing temperatures and frozen snow. A trap was set nearby in hopes of catching the lion.

“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,” said Sean Shepherd, Area Wildlife Manager based in Salida. “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. And we will continue to track the lion and lion activity.”

Wildlife officers will continue to monitor lion activity in the Nathrop area. CPW encourages residents to report mountain lion sightings or activity near their homes. If you see any mountain lions, call the CPW’s Salida office at 719-530-5520 or Colorado State Patrol at 719-544-2424 after business hours.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Mountain Lion. | Picture: Colorado Parks and Wildlife Website

Saturday’s attack is the first reported mountain lion-related incident involving humans in Colorado since February 27, 2022. This is the 24th known attack of a mountain lion, causing injury to a human in Colorado since 1990. Three other attacks in Colorado since 1990 have resulted in human deaths. CPW does not characterize lion depredation of pets or other animals as attacks.

Though mountain lion attacks are rare, knowing how to avoid or manage potential encounters is essential. To reduce the risk of problems with mountain lions on or near your property, CPW urges you to follow these simple precautions:

  • Make lots of noise if you are outside from dusk to dawn.
  • Install outside lighting, especially in areas where you walk, so that you can see any potential mountain lions around your property.
  • Supervise children whenever they play outdoors and make sure they are inside before dusk. Talk with children about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one.
  • Landscape or remove vegetation to eliminate hiding places for lions. Make it difficult for lions to approach unseen.
  • Planting non-native shrubs and plants that deer often prefer to eat encourages wildlife to come onto your property, and predators, like mountain lions, will follow their prey.
  • Never feed any wildlife.
  • Keep your pets under control. Roaming pets are easy prey and can attract lions. Bring pets in at night. If you leave your pet outside, keep it in a kennel with a secure top.
  • Don’t feed pets outside; this can attract raccoons and other animals that lions eat. Store all garbage securely.
  • Place livestock in enclosed sheds or barns at night—close doors to all outbuildings since inquisitive lions may go inside for a look.

Related Articles

3 thoughts on “Man in Hot Tub Attacked by Mountain Lion in Nathrop, CO

Got an opinion? Let us know...