A mountain lion spotted in a popular Oregon park turns out to be just a house cat. The state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed the feline spotted in a blurry video is nothing to be concerned about.
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According to wildlife officials, this happens more often than people think. The recent sighting was in the town of Tigard, outside Portland. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife shared the video that first incited the worry about a large cat in the area.
Besides being incredibly grainy, the footage proves this is not a cougar but a house cat. In the post, wildlife officials said: “The number one indicator is its size compared to the tree and compost/garbage bin. Also, the fence is likely 6 feet, which puts the cat at less than 1 foot in height. Also, the coloration – it’s not the right tan and looks more like an orange house cat. You’d be surprised how often other animals (dogs, house cats, coyotes, bobcats) are reported as cougar sightings.”
While it may seem laughable now, the Felidae Conservation Fund says misidentifying mountain lions puts the animals more at risk. The organization works to protect and educate people about wild cats. The organization says “crying wolf” creates an unnecessary panic and a negative connotation toward the animal that is essential for our ecosystems.
They have a list of tips on ways to avoid misidentifying cougars.
- Bobcats – Bobcats are more populous and are found in more regions than mountain lions. Identify bobcats by their spotty coats, famously short tails, and smaller size. Bobcats are only a little larger than a house cat.
- Domestic Cats – Orange house cats, especially overfed ones seen from a distance, can be confused for pumas. This cat was photographed at such an odd angle, it had people convinced it was a puma.
- Dogs, Coyotes, and Wolves – Large dogs can be confused for mountain lions, especially if they have long, smooth tails. Wolves are a little smaller than mountain lions, but are much furrier and tend to have a grayer coat.
- Deer – Both deer and mountain lions can stand quite tall and be close in color, but similarities end there. Unlike pumas, deer have long spindly legs – and the antlers should be a dead giveaway.
- Lynx – Lynx are very similar to bobcats in many ways, but have longer legs and larger footprints. Their tracks can be easily confused with pumas’, which can be close in size.
- Bears – Aside from being large and brown, mountain lions and bears have very few shared attributes. Learn how to identify bears in your area with this guide.
Here’s what hikers need to know about hiking in mountain lion territory.