Mountain lion paw print?
Found these tracks on our property. I had some hunters tell me that they saw a cougar while hunting this last fall. (Needless to say, they found somewhere else to hunt).
However, I didn't take it too seriously. Just thought it may have been their imagination.
However, last week we found these tracks. I read that the cat species do not usually have claws showing.
However, these prints were about the size of my hand.
I can't imagine a dog having prints that big! What do you think?
Hi Nikki... thanks for visiting and asking. I am no great expert but there are three main things that are against this paw print being made by a cougar:
1. Missouri is about 300 miles outside the cougar's distribution. That does not necessarily exclude the cougar from Missouri because they wander. There are a few stories of wandering cougars looking for mates etc. But it is a factor in deciding.
2. The paw print pictured has clear claw marks and as you say the cougar does not usually show claw marks due to retractable claws like nearly all the cats (except the cheetah). When the cougar runs the claws might be out for grip but this paw print appears to be "settled" and that of a walking animal.
3. The heel pad is relatively too small compared to the toe pads. The mountain lion heel pad is larger. Also the heel pad in the picture appears to have one indentation at the rear. The cougars heel pad has two indentations.
Here is a map of the cougar range:
Conclusion My conclusion, which is open to criticism, is that this is the paw print of a large dog. Apparently they can be as big as the paw print of a cougar.
See mountain lion tracks.