A search is under way for a mountain lion who clawed a man’s head while he bathed in a hot tub with his wife in Colorado.
The couple were relaxing at a rental home in a wooded area of Nathrop at the time of the incident on Saturday night.
The man felt something grab his head and screamed when he realised it was a lion, officials said.
He continued to shout at the curious cat and splash water at it while his wife shone a torch in its direction, eventually forcing the animal to retreat to the top of a hill.
It continued to watch the couple from its new vantage point.
They managed to get back home and clean the man’s wounds (four scratches to the top of his head and near his right ear), before calling the property owner, who worked for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Wildlife officers have set a trap for the lion, having failed to find any tracks in the frozen snow covering the area.
Nathrop is a mountainous area known for its outdoor activities.
Why did the lion attack?
Saturday’s encounter was the first reported mountain lion attack on a person in Colorado since February 2022.
Sean Shepherd, an area wildlife manager, said the animal likely didn’t see the couple when it investigated the tub.
“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,” he said.
“The couple did the right thing by making noise and shining a light on the lion.”
At least 27 people have been injured in mountain lion attacks in Colorado since 1990, three of them fatally.