If you look closely, you will also see a claw imprint ahead of toe number four. Typically their tracks do not show any claw marks, unlike tracks of dogs or coyotes. Think about it. The tail is long (up to half the total body length), thick, and tipped with black. Expert trackers look for the following to identify mountain lion tracks: 1. COMPARISON OF MOUNTAIN LION AND DOG TRACKS Mountain lions use their claws primarily as hooks to hold onto their prey until they can administer a lethal bite. Between 3- and 3.5-inch-wide tracks. Mountain lions tend to cover their kills with soil, leaves, grass, and other debris. Mountain lions have round heads with erect ears. Long scratch marks (more than 3 feet [1 m]) often emanate from a kill site. Most tracks have visible claw marks, meaning they’re canine. Also, note the bobcat tracks on the left and the raccoon tracks in the middle. The upper canine teeth of a mountain lion, however, are farther apart and considerably larger than a coyote’s (1 1/2 to 2 1/4 inches [3.8 to 5.7 cm] versus 1 1/8 to 1 3/8 inches [2.8 to 3.5 cm]). This work is supported by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. Broken necks are common. Three-lobed heel pad with two indentations along rear margin. Nine attacks resulted in 10 human deaths. Dogs and coyotes have one indent at the bottom of their pads. Several states have a damage claim system that allows for recovery of the value of livestock lost to mountain lion predation. Trapezoidal-shaped heel pad. Mountain lions make little noise in the woods. Claw marks are visible, but they are sharp and do not register very deeply. Dogs’ and bobcats’ toes are shaped like an oval. The lack of claw marks is also clearly visible. Compare mountain lion sounds to those of other wildlife you may hear at night. The cat generally leaps on the horses back so claw marks on the chest would start low and be torn towards the whithers. “A mountain lion’s claw can shred a tree,” she says. Occasionally claw marks may be seen in mountain lion tracks. Sheep, goats, calves, and deer are typically killed by a bite to the top of the neck or head. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal. Historically, lion damage was suffered by relatively few livestock producers who operate in areas of excellent lion habitat and high lion populations. Letter A points to a small claw mark on toe number two. Claw marks left by an adult cougar will be 4 to 8 feet above the ground and consist of long, deep, parallel scratches running almost vertically down the trunk. 2015-41595-24254 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Canines are considered diagonal walkers – which means they lift their front and hind legs on opposite sides at the same time. After the prey is dead, they generally drag the carcass to dense cover to feed. Mountain lions cause about 20% of the total livestock predation losses in western states annually. 4 and 4 1/2 Newhouse. Although uncommon, mountain lion attacks on humans occasionally occur. They range in height from 2-3 feet and are up to 8-feet long. Dogs leave a blunt, flat claw mark. When present, a mountain lion's claw marks are slender and sharp. We facilitate and provide opportunity for all citizens to use, enjoy, and learn about these resources. Leg hold traps sizes No. “Like house cats scratching furniture, cougars mark their territory boundaries by leaving claw marks on trees, stumps, and occasionally fence posts. Bobcats—Since Missouri has an increasing bobcat population—and because bobcats employ many of the same techniques to kill and eat their prey—distinguishing the two often depends on finding and measuring tracks and/or punctures made by their canines. Dogs—Dogs frequently attack and kill wildlife and livestock. Studies have shown raccoons are a top food of mountain lions moving across the prairie. This is the left front foot. Cougar scat is often composed of chunks of dense whitish matter, about the size of charcoal briquettes. Occasionally, mountain lions drag their prey to cover before feeding, leaving well-defined drag marks. They have five retractable claws on the front foot and four on the rear foot. Many people have survived an attack by fighting back with everything from rocks, sticks, and bare fists to fishing poles. No claw marks are usually visible, except in extremely rare occasions when mountain lions use them for extra traction or to build up speed. Find local MDC conservation agents, consultants, education specialists, and regional offices. On other occasions they begin to feed at the shoulders and ribs. Less than 10% of mountain lions reported in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma have proven to be accurate after official investigations. When they do, they often sound like a person whistling or a bird chirping. Teardrop-shaped toes. Cougars, also known as mountain lions or pumas, have a tan or tawny coat, with white or cream-colored chin, undersides, and inside of legs. Their front and hind tracks are identical and you will see claw marks. Clearly, there could be quite an overlap, making identification based on the claw marks alone unreliable. Attacks on humans have increased markedly in the last two decades (see Beier 1991). Research based wildlife control information, Mountain Lion | Mountain Lion Overview | Mountain Lion Damage Assessment | Mountain Lion Damage Management | Mountain Lion Acknowledgements | Mountain Lion Resources | ICWDM | Wildlife Species Information, if (window.showTocToggle) { var tocShowText = "show"; var tocHideText = "hide"; showTocToggle(); }. Reports of horses and cattle seen with claw marks from mountain lions are … Note that the front track is wider and more asymmetrical than the hind track. Claw marks are usually visible in dog and coyote tracks. They show four toes, normally without claws. Between 3- and 3.5-inch-wide tracks. Lions are considered to have negative impacts on several bighorn sheep herds in New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado. If mountain lion predation is suspected in states where lions are protected, contact a local wildlife management office for assistance. Lion harvests are severely restricted by the harvest methods allowed and by quotas. All these features identify it as a cat track. Mountain Lion Canine. The front feet are larger than the rear feet, useful for gripping prey. Their attacks usually lead to indiscriminate mutilation and they feed very little on their prey. Used in conjunction with predator kill watching, or calling. Three lobes at the bottom of the pad. No claw marks are usu… bite the throat and leave marks similar to those of coyotes. The wounds would require stitches. They usually keep their claws retracted unless they are maneuvering on difficult terrain. I'd surmise the reason authorities came up with a "mountain lion" scenario would be because of multiple, deep scratches and claw marks. Most victims (64%) were children who were either alone or in groups of other children. Verifying livestock losses to mountain lions is difficult because of the rough mountainous terrain and vegetation cover present where most lion predation occurs. That has to be the reason mountain lion was concluded. 2 halves of foot not identical 2 halves of foot generally identical. Dogs leave a blunt, flat claw mark. Heel pad width ranges from 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm). Claw marks are often evident on the carcass. Avoid taking pets - they are easy prey and may attract mountain lions. The tracks of the front foot are slightly larger than those of the hind foot. The three-lobed heel pad is very distinctive and separates the track from large dog or coyote tracks. This historic pattern has changed in recent years, as lion distribution has spread, resulting in frequent sightings and occasional damage in residential developments adjacent to rangelands, montane forests, and other mountain lion habitat. In areas of low deer numbers, mountain lions may kill deer faster than deer can reproduce, thus inhibiting deer population growth. 4. Mountain lions tend to cover their kills with soil, leaves, grass, and other debris. Claw marks are often evident on the carcass. Occasionally, mountain lions will bite the throat and leave marks similar to those of coyotes. They are protected in all other states where present. Persecution by humans and changing land uses have restricted their range to relatively unpopulated areas and remote mountainous regions, although isolated populations may exist elsewhere (Currier 1983). Distinguishing features of a mountain lion track are its roundness, the shape of the planter pad (main foot pad) and asymmetry of both the foot and the individual toes. Cattle, horse, and burro losses are often chronic in areas of high lion populations. Although mountain lions once roamed over most of Minnesota, they were nev… Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 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