Monthly Archives: September 2021

Think You Might Have a Resident Big Cat in Your Area?

Here are a couple of tips to help you decipher the signs!

September 23, 2021

Claw marks in the paw print usually signal a dog. However, conversely, not all dogs leave claw prints. A mountain lion (often referred to as a “panther,” “cougar,” and many other names) has retractable claws that are usually not extended during walking unless the terrain is extremely rough. 

Dog tracks are overall much more uniform in shape. A mountain lion’s individual pads aren’t as well aligned as a dog’s. The pads of a dog track could be connected with imaginary straight lines at a 45 degree angle. Whereas a mountain lion’s pads are more apt to line up on a diagonal. While the two center pads of a dog track will be at the same height across, the mountain lion’s pads are staggered, similar to where our middle finger is placed in respect to our index or ring finger. 

Perhaps the greatest difference between the two lies in the shape of the foot pad, rather than the toes. The primary pad of a dog’s print will more or less form an upward pointing triangle, with slight indentations in the bottom edge. A mountain lion’s primary pad is much more irregularly shaped, with a pronounced indentation on the top, and two more additionally prominent ones on the bottom! 

Sasha Cougar Safe at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Cougar Rescued from Bronx Doing Well at TCWR

Sasha, a pet cougar rescued from a Bronx home arrived at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas this week. The 80-pound 11-month-old mountain lion was brought to the Refuge after her previous owner contacted TCWR President, Tanya Smith. Through a joint effort between the sanctuary, the Bronx Zoo, the Humane Society of the United States, the NYPD, and the Department of Environmental Conservation, as well as thanks to full cooperation from the previous owner, Sasha is now safe at her forever home. Visually, Sasha appears to be in good health. She is fully-clawed and already very comfortable in her new environment.

Sasha underwent a full health exam a few days after arriving at the Refuge. Her test results looked great! Soon, she’ll be released into a grass habitat. In the mean time, she is under quarantine at the Jackson Memorial Veterinary Hospital until she receives her full vaccination panel. She enjoys making a mess of her enclosure each day- shredding enrichment faster than we can provide it. After observing her mess, it’s hard to believe she was kept in a home for so long!

You can support Sasha’s new journey by making a donation at tcwr.org/donate.