A 63-year-old man was attacked by a mountain lion near Nevada City early Sunday while sleeping alongside a tributary of the Yuba River.
The California Department of Fish and Game confirmed the unusual attack after investigating the scene and the man's injuries.
Fish and Game said the man, who is from the Bay Area, was traveling through Nevada County on a planned hiking trip when he decided to stop for the night to sleep. He laid a sleeping bag out on the ground and went to sleep. Around 1 a.m., he was attacked in the sleeping bag by a mountain lion for what he described as 90 seconds to 2 minutes.
The man said the animal bit and clawed him through the sleeping bag, through a cap he was wearing and through his clothes. The lion ceased the attack, looked at him from 15 feet away for another 15 to 30 seconds, then ran into the night.
The man drove himself to a hospital in Grass Valley, where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries and later released.
Game wardens responded to the hospital and verified that the man suffered severe scratches and puncture wounds. They collected several articles of clothing and the sleeping bag, which were analyzed at Fish and Game's forensics laboratory in Sacramento.
At the scene, wardens found mountain lion tracks. They used trained dogs in an attempt to track the lion but were unsuccessful. However, they did find the remains of a domestic cat which had injuries consistent with a mountain lion attack.
An effort to track the lion continues. Fish and Game counts this as the 15th confirmed mountain lion attack in California since 1890.
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