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Some eastern bobcats have no visible spots.  Another diagnostic characteristic not mentioned is the fact that bobcats have white patches on the back of their ears.  Cougar do not.  This fact has enable the Cougar Rewilding Foundation to identify assumed cougars in several photos as bobcats.

http://brookfield.patch.com/articles/large-bobcat-thought-mountain-lion-spotted-in-brookfield#photo-7871591

BrookfieldPatch.com

Large Bobcat Thought Mountain Lion Spotted in Brookfield

A Brookfield resident saw what he thought was a cougar and turned out to be a large bobcat.

  • By Aaron Boyd

A Brookfield resident reported spotting what at first appeared to be a mountain lion but turned out to be a large bobcat, the third sighting in town in a month.

Big Buck Lane resident Billy Kanych, Jr. took the attached photographs of the cat around 4:30 p.m. on September 4.

“It was sitting under a pine tree licking its paw,” Kanych said. “I took some photos when it started leaving.”

After looking at the photos, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Wildlife Biologist Paul Rego confirmed that it was not a mountain lion, but rather a bobcat, noting that it does not seem to have a long tail in the picture and is spotted, unlike cougars.

People often mistake bobcats for mountain lions/cougars, as “people sometimes mistake that bobcat’s rear leg as a long tail,” he said, however the two breeds are differentiated by the coloring of their fur, as well.

“Cougars are very uniform in color while bobcats often have spots and more white and dark marking on the face,” he said, adding, “But very often the markings on a bobcat are not very obvious and they can look uniform from a distance.”

The biggest difference between the two felines is the size, according to Rego, with bobcats averaging in the 20-30 pound range and cougars weighing in at 80-160 pounds.

Kanych said he does not distinctly remember there being a tail, but the cat he saw “was at least 80-100 pounds.”

Rego said in his time as a wildlife biologist the heaviest bobcat he had ever seen was 39 pounds and “the second heaviest was 33 pounds.”

“In my experience most people overestimate the size of wild animals,” he said. “So a cougar’s size would strike many people as enormous,” he noted for perspective.

Mountain lions went extinct in Connecticut “over a century ago,” according to Rego, though one was killed on Route 15 in Milford in June. Originally thought to have been an illegal pet, DEEP officials later determined that the cougar traveled from its native home in South Dakota.

Rego said the closest known populations of mountain lions are in the western Dakotas and Florida.

Spot a bobcat? Let us know and we’ll add it to the interactive map.

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