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‘Mountain Lion’ May Have Been a Coyote or a Dog

The “mountain lion” was reported near the Dunster Lane and Pepper Hill Drive neighborhood off Ridge Street in Winchester.

Photo credit: Patch file photo.
Photo credit: Patch file photo.

The state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife said the “mountain lion” reported in Winchester last week was not a mountain lion. It was likely a coyote or even a dog, reported The Boston Globe.

Amy Mahler, an Environmental Police spokeswoman, told The Globe the exact identity of the animal isn’t known, but the prints suggest “a member of the Canidae family,” which includes a coyote or dog.

The report of a mountain lion was reported by a person near the Dunster Lane and Pepper Hill Drive neighborhood off Ridge Street in Winchester, which is near Wright Locke Farm in Winchester and Whipple Hill in Lexington.

Winchester Police called in the Massachusetts Environmental Police, which initially said the paw print “strongly resembled that of a mountain lion,” according to Winchester Police.

The prints were sent to the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife for verification.

Read the full Boston Globe article here.

dan March 03, 2014 at 08:09 AM
Please visit https://www.save-our-pets-ma.org
Zoltan March 03, 2014 at 08:20 AM
Were plaster casts taken of the fresh prints and if not, why? There are distinct differences between the paws of dogs and large cats. The absence of claw marks, a third lobe on the outer heel and elongated middle toe pad as well as other obvious characteristics would point to a large cat. A trained professional studying fresh tracks would not confuse the two types. Even a casual observer would immediately sense the difference.
Ray Weber March 24, 2014 at 10:35 AM
No plaster casts, but some high quality photos. A number of professionals, including yes, Phd's, now agree they are cat tracks. None of them understand the theory put forth by the wildlife folks that this is a "dog track with another one understepped on top of it". The tracks were photographed when fresh. No nails are visible, and they have all the points you use to identify a cat track. Mass Wildlife says the nails "melted", but known coyote tracks at the site (1.5 inches across) show nails perfectly. Mass Wildlife also sent all the known canine tracks to the people reviewing these, attempting to present them as from the same animal. The cat tracks are over 3 inches, the canine (probably coyote), are about 1.5. One of the reviewers then claimed it was "a dog with catlike paws". Another of their reviewers (from Mass), initially had agreed it was a cat track, but reversed his opinion when contacted by Mass Wildlife. The wildlife folks only had an opinion from one out of state reviewer. All of ours were out of state excepting myself. One of our reviewers sent tracks that were almost exactly the same, and a photo of a cougar foot to show how the track was made. Makes all of wonder what the agenda is...

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