This local news story caused some concern in Ohio. Was this a mountain lion?
After viewing surveillance video, state wildlife officials have identified a large animal caught roaming through Canal Winchester.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says after seeing the animal move, they believe it is a coyote and not a mountain lion as people in the area suspected.
The Chief of The Division of Wildlife at The Ohio Department of Natural Resources at first thought the animal might be a bobcat. He says they’re becoming more common in Ohio.
The owners of the video, which was taken by a business surveillance system, were convinced it was no coyote. Local chickens had been found dead. This was worrisome to citizens who thought this could be proof a mountain lion, or puma, was around. Mountains lions are not known to have a population in Ohio (although it seems possible loners could be passing through).
Here is the video and news report. They do a good job at using the reporter for scale. You can see the animal could EASILY be interpreted as a puma but actually, it’s a bit small. The tail is too long to be a bobcat. There is no mention of tracks – it was snowing and there was already snow on the ground. But after this video aired, the above article was updated with the coyote conclusion. Note: The animal shown is very fuzzy, obscuring the outline and appearing larger. My dog also puffs up when out in the cold. Does this happen with coyotes as well lending to the strange appearance? Could it just be a big fluffy housecat? Yes, it totally could.
As with other out-of-place big cat stories, the evidence is not great and misinterpretations are easy to make. This video was not clear enough to show it was definitively a big cat as claimed. We should leave it to experts to make a final conclusion. However, that conclusion was likely rejected by those who prefer to believe in the wilder opinion.