Nope, not a mountain lion in Ohio

This local news story caused some concern in Ohio. Was this a mountain lion?

Animal Spotted In Canal Winchester is Identified.

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.

Screen capture from video

Screen capture from video

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.

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  7 comments for “Nope, not a mountain lion in Ohio

  1. February 9, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    the back is too short to be a cougar, the gate is most certainly canine. I would hedge my bet that it was a coyote. or perhaps a hybrid of yote and dog.

    • jt
      March 8, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      This is absolutely a coyote.I have seen enough of them to know.

  2. Shen
    February 9, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    It kind of looks like a maine coon. A cat… which is big, that sounds about right to me.

  3. Lagaya1
    February 9, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    I grew up about 5 miles from Canal Winchester. These sightings are very common in the area. In the past, it’s always been just witnesses, no pictures. People seeing what they want to see. Funny thing is, even with pictures, people just see what they want to see.

    I’m glad that the news station thought to do a perspective shot. It certainty looks feline to me, but not large enough to be anything other than a big housecat with a lot of fluffy fur. People who want cougar will still see cougar, though.

  4. February 9, 2014 at 6:08 PM

    The tail length and shape of tail is feline. bobcats dont have long tails, and the stance it has when it stops is feline. I bet its some kind of cat.. Keep an eye on your animals no matter what it is.

  5. OReilly
    February 9, 2014 at 7:35 PM

    Most of Central Ohio has a crust of ice over at least a few inches of snow making readable tracks almost impossible. That said, it sure looks like a dog to me.

  6. Dennis R.
    March 2, 2014 at 3:01 AM

    This does not look remotely like a coyote. The face does not have a long snout like a coyote. Also the way the tail hangs as it walks, and the thicker body, it does not appear like a coyote to me. It also has too long of a tail for it to be a bobcat. My vote is this is a cougar.

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