I have reported on this site in the past. Today I was browsing recent sightings and am bothered by the lack of information people have on CT mtn lions. It’s no one’s fault, except the DEP who hides the fact these animals exist. Everyone, this is serious. I don’t think we should go out killing these animals en masse, and I don’t even think that’s possible…but the DEP is negligent in allowing CT residents the best defense against wild predatory animals, which is…knowledge of existence. Like bears, rabid racoons or any animal threat..if you know it’s out there, you can be aware and that is your single best defense. The DEP has robbed you of that defense.
Here are some facts, you can believe me or not:
They are not transient animals. They live here. They did not come from Canada. They are not escaped, exotic pets (please! think about that ridiculous theory!) Does anyone remember when black bear populations were being tracked? No one believed there was black bear at first. Then finally one day the sightings were too numerous and the paper had to do a story, it could no longer be denied. So far mtn lion stories are being excused as ridiculous things but one day the DEP will have to come out with the truth.
Mtn lions are the color of orange tabby cats but sometimes more tawny. They are big. They are easilly mistaken, far away and partially seen, as golden retrievers for their color. BUT if you see the whole animal, you will see that they have very thick long tails with short hair. A cat face. Very broad nose and usually brown around their eyes. Their ears are rounded, sometimes also have brown on the rim. A typical stride between paw prints is about 5ft. If you see prints in snow or mud, you might possibly see a long line between them…that is the dragging tail. This is dramatically different from a bobcat with a short tail…that’s a smaller animal.
They are stealthy and do not want you to see them. That does not mean they are not dangerous. Cat behavior, with any type of cat, is elusive ESPECIALLY when scoping out prey. Watch a pet cat try to catch a bird. Mtn lions exhibited the same behavior. That doesn’t mean you’ll instantly be attacked, but you need to remove yourself from any area where you see recurring tracks. These cats are elusive but also curious. They can be watching you from the woods, and you won’t even know they are so close to you.
Their underbelly fur is white or cream colored. Sometimes you can find tufts of that in the woods. The scat, if you really look at it, has fur in it like hair balls because they mostly eat deer.
What they do with a deer is, they typically attack from behind and grab at the throat, snapping the neck back and biting through the throat itself. Once they bring down the deer and it’s dead, they typically rip off the back legs. I don’t know why they do this, but I’ve seen the evidence with my own eyes and talked to hunters from Maine who say the same. The dead deer that I found, the legs were completely dragged somewhere else, I couldn’t see those. A pack of coyotes will usually tear the deer apart and be a little more messy like a dog would be, but the mtn lion, while it does make a bit of a mess, is much cleaner like a cat would be. Again, observe the behavior of domesticated cats.
The growl is low and gutteral. You want to esp. beware of a mtn lion that is not afraid to be vocal in your presence.
If you run across a mtn lion, do not run. It may provoke the animal to chase you. You should stop, and slowly back away from the animal, but never turn your back on it and do not stare in its eyes. Staring in the eyes is a threatening gesture. Once you are a safe distance away, where the animal can’t see you or seems to not have pursued you, then you can run like hell.
Mtn lions are everywhere in CT. The most likely place for a mtn lion at any particular time would anywhere you see fresh deer tracks or have been seeing deer frequently. Also, if deer start coming out of the woods in summertime, you can bet they are trying to get away from a predator. Deer usually only come out of the woods to travel from one place to another, or, if congregating somewhere in the open, they will do so when it’s cold. Otherwise, they congregate out in the open to be a bit closer to humans because they know mtn lions will typically avoid well populated areas. Just like in African safari videos you might see on tv, mtn lions hunt deer that travel in packs. They stalk the deer. And, as I have experienced on numerous occasions, they WILL stalk people…whether out of curiousity or what. Avoid going to the same areas where you’ ve seen mtn lions because your reappearance might give one the opportunity to get a bit more brave with you.
These animals LIVE here, and have a sizeable population, I believe. If you research mtn lions, you will find that the Eastern Mtn Cougar is INDIGENOUS to this area. The colonials used to shoot them for killing their livestock and for a long time it was believed they were extinct, until now. Sadly not too many people read up on it, so people believe the bs they hear about lone drifters or what have you. These animals are as natural to CT as grey squirrels but colonial farmers had killed a lot off, and scared a lot off too because in colonial times there was actually more farm land and LESS forest.[ Jim Vicevich on AM 1080 recently said that we have more forest now than ever. ] Apparently they didn’t kill them all. It seems a surviving population has grown along with a rise in the deer population and increase in forestland. Ironically, amidst the forested land, developers started doing all that developing, so you had a rising population of mtn lions being pushed out of habitats and more visible.
Bottom line is, these animals have ALWAYS lived here, and have grown in numbers. My father saw one back in the 1940s. I often wonder how many missing persons are really mtn lion victims.
If you don’t believe all this, do some comprehensive research. It’s not hard.