June 25, 2008 / 5:58 AM / 12 years ago

U.S. man attacked, eaten by mountain lion

A mountain lion is seen in a handout photo from the Fish and Wildlife Service. REUTERS/Handout

PHOENIX (Reuters) - A mountain lion attacked, killed and partially ate a New Mexico man, authorities said on Tuesday.

A search party found the body of Robert Nawojski, 55, in a wooded area near his mobile home in Pinos Altos, New Mexico, late last week, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish said.

Investigators concluded that Nawojski had been attacked and killed by a mountain lion, or cougar, at a spot close to his home, where he lived alone and was known to bathe and shave outdoors.

Spokesman Dan Williams said the lion subsequently dragged the man’s body a short distance into nearby woodland and ate and buried parts of it.

Nawojski was reported missing by his brother last week. A search party found a mountain lion lurking near his home, and reported it to the Department of Game and Fish, who shot and wounded the animal.

After the lion ran off, the officer found the door to the mobile home open, the water running, and Nawojski’s false teeth on the table.

Mountain lions are common throughout much of the Americas but they very rarely attack humans. The felines can grow up to nine feet in length, and weigh up to 260 pounds (120 kg).

Since the late 19th century, there have been just over 100 attacks on people in North America, around 20 of them fatal.

Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Sandra Maler

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