Connecticut is one of those states where you could find a range of wildlife living harmoniously among each other. Due to the availability of a variety of habitats, from white-tailed deer to Bald eagles, you could spot at least one exotic wild animal if you go outside your place.
In addition to these creatures, each year there have been also a few mountain lion sightings in Connecticut.
However, can these sightings be confirmed, and have the mountain lion returned to Connecticut?
Below I’ve explained all the things you need to know about their presence across the state, some other big cats in Connecticut, and the legalities of owning a mountain lion in the state.
Are There Any Mountain Lions in Connecticut?
Mountain lions were once found across the state of Connecticut prior to European settlement in the state. After that, these majestic creatures were widely hunted and killed both as a sport and also for the safety of livestock. Soon by the late 1800s, these creatures were extirpated from the state.
While there have been occasional sightings of Mountain lions, these are not confirmed. As per Connecticut’s wildlife division, there is no established population of these wild animals.
Although mountain lions rarely are a threat to humans, their attacks can be fatal. Therefore, always be cautious and follow the precautions set by the state whenever hiking through forests and mountains where these elusive creatures live.
Have Mountain Lions Been Released in Connecticut?
No, as of now, there hasn’t been any reintroduction of mountain lions in the state of Connecticut. While there have been about 50-100 sightings of these magnificent creatures each year in the state, these are mostly individuals dispersing from nearby states looking for a mate.
Although there aren’t any mountain lions living in the state now, we can’t say the same in the future. Reintroduction of these creatures in the wild may change the situation. As these apex predators control the ecosystem, their reintroduction needs to be well-planned.
It is also worthwhile to note that one of the widely believed reasons for mountain lion disappearance in the state is the scarcity of prey population. Especially, the white-tailed deer whose population was reduced to a degree where mountain lions ran out of food.
While the white-tailed deer population in Connecticut is now stable, it is important to also look into this aspect as well before beginning reintroduction initiatives.
Can You Own a Mountain Lion in Connecticut?
No, you cannot own a mountain lion in Connecticut. As per the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection regulations also called ‘DEEP,’ mountain lions are classified as ‘Potentially Dangerous animals. Therefore, any possession, sale, or breeding of these creatures without valid permits and licenses is prohibited.
In addition to legal issues, it is also not safe to own these dangerous and unpredictable animals as pets. While they may not attack you while in captivity, these animals can quickly change and become dangerous to humans due to their retention of evolutional characteristics. They also are known to predate domestic animals including other pets which not only may affect you, but also the locality you live in.
While the idea of owning a mountain lion may seem enticing, it is extremely dangerous to do so. You can simply just observe them in wildlife sanctuaries or zoos where these animals can be found captive.
Also Check Our Guide On Mountain Lions IN US
Can You Hunt a Mountain Lion in Ct?
It is illegal to hunt a mountain lion in Connecticut. As per state regulations, it is prohibited to hunt mountain lions except when they pose a threat to a human’s life or property.
Though you may end up never finding one near your locality, it is always safe to vary of the surroundings for mountain lions and any other exotic wildlife that Connecticut seems to inhabit. Additionally, if you do spot one, report it to DEEP authorities who are responsible to track these evasive creatures.
Was The Mountain Lion Hit By A Car in Connecticut?
While mountain lions are believed to have been eradicated from Connecticut, the last confirmed sighting of this creature was in 2011.
Also referred to as “The Connecticut mountain lion,” this individual cougar was hit by an SUV and was killed on the Merritt Parkway in Milford.
After the incident, further investigation using DNA evidence confirmed that the 140-pound big cat had actually traveled from South Dakota and did not originate in Connecticut. It had most probably traveled these 1500 miles in search of a mate.
What Are the Big Cats of Connecticut?
Connecticut is home to three big cats: Bobcats, Lynx, and Cougars also known as mountain lions. Though mountain lions are not found currently in the state, Bobcats are quite common and are found throughout the state except on the coast. As a matter of fact, most of the mountain lion sightings are believed to be bobcats.
Though bobcats are smaller than cougars, they are about 2-3 times the size of domestic cats. They weigh 20 pounds and are typically brown or tan with dark spots of stripes on their body. And like mountain lions, these are carnivorous and prey on small animals like white-tailed deer.
Lynx are much less common than bobcats and are found predominantly in northern or western parts of Connecticut. These cats weigh almost double of bobcats and have similar stripe patterns and colors however, these strips are much lighter.
While the state currently has a thriving population of bobcats, the same can’t be said about other wildcats. Hunting, loss of habitat, and scarcity of prey have pushed these wildcats into extinction.
To prevent it from happening to the bobcats too, various steps and initiatives shall be taken by the state and the public. The first step would be to know more about the animals and that’s what we have provided to you above.
Also Check Our Guide On Mountain Lion In Colorado
And that was everything you need to know about the Mountain lions in Connecticut. I hope this article was informative and your queries were answered.
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I’m a passionate animal lover and researcher, I’ve created this website so that people can learn about the size and characteristics of different animal species. My goal is to educate and inspire people to appreciate the diversity of our planet’s wildlife.