Are There Mountain Lions In Connecticut? Everything You Need To Know

Since it’s well known that mountain lions don’t live on the East Coast of the United States of America, you would think that you’d never find one in Connecticut. After all, that’s as far east as it can get, right? How would a mountain lion even find its way there? And yet, Connecticut is exactly where a mountain lion traveled to before meeting its tragic end on a highway.  

Are There Mountain Lions In Connecticut?

You won’t officially find any records of mountain lions living in Connecticut. So to all the people who excitedly call the wildlife department about sightings every year, it’s a pity to inform you that you probably saw a bobcat. The last mountain lions that lived on the East Coast were hunted to extinction in the 1800s, so you’re as likely to see one as a mythical creature. 

The Connecticut Wildlife Division tells us there aren’t any mountain lions in the state. They don’t have permanent territories there and they don’t breed there. However, once in a while, a particularly adventurous cat might wander into the state.

Where in Connecticut Do Mountain Lions Live?

Since mountain lions don’t live in Connecticut in the first place, the answer to that will have to be nowhere. But this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any sightings. 

About 50-100 calls come in every year about mountain lion sightings in Connecticut and in most cases they aren’t confirmed. Even rangers are fooled at times when they see bobcat tracks and confuse them with the pug marks of a lion (even though the latter is much, much bigger than the former). Maybe it’s just the hope of something exciting.

Connecticut is such a small state and so far from all the known mountain lion terrains that it would be difficult for them to repopulate the state at this point. The nearest mountain lions are in Florida and in South Dakota. It would be near impossible for more than a solitary lion to make that long journey and actually survive it. 

Mountain Lion Sighting In Connecticut

Mountain Lions In Connecticut

If you’ve followed the news about mountain lions in the last decade or so, you should know about the South Dakota mountain lion that walked all the way to Connecticut. You’ll also know the sad way that that story ended.

The juvenile male had been walking for the better part of two years before it reached Connecticut, making its way through Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Canada, and was probably headed toward New York City. (Who knows, maybe he’d heard good things about the nightlife there?) As we now know, his adventure came to an end in Connecticut when he was struck by a car on a highway in 2011. 

This was the first and only record of a mountain lion in Connecticut in over 100 years. Maybe that story ignited hope in the hearts of the people of Connecticut that the mountain lion had not died out in their state but was only crouching in the shadows, invisible. It wasn’t just remarkable that he had managed to cover such a vast distance but that he’d done it undetected. If one could do it, could not some others? 

Alas, we have no evidence that other lions followed in his footsteps. There haven’t been any confirmed sightings since then. And while no news can be good news and mountain lions are notoriously reclusive, it’s unlikely that there are any mountain lions roaming around Connecticut.

Also, Check Our Guide On Mountain Lions In the U.S.

How Big Was the Mountain Lion in Connecticut?

The mountain lion that met its end on a Connecticut highway was a young male and was identified as being 2 to 5 years of age. Weighing about 140 pounds (which is just about the average for a male mountain lion although they can get much bigger than that), his tail was just as fascinating as his tale. From the pictures, we can see that it was almost as long as his body. 

More than the size of a mountain lion, it’s the long tail that differentiates it from a bobcat. You might mistake the size of a wild cat in a moment of excitement but the distinctive long tail of a cougar is difficult to miss.

How Many Mountain Lion Attacks in Connecticut?

Since there haven’t been any mountain lions in Connecticut since the 1800s, the chances of an attack are nil. Reports of sightings have never been confirmed and the Wildlife Division says that while they would be very happy to have mountain lions resettle in the state, bears are the bigger problem now. And we all know how much more moody and temperamental bears are. 

Can You Hunt Mountain Lions In Connecticut? 

Mountain Lions In Connecticut

Since mountain lions were hunted to extinction in Connecticut about 100 years ago, the simple answer is that there aren’t any mountain lions left to hunt. If any do make their way that far east, they’re much more likely to be hit by a car like the South Dakota lion than to be hunted down. 

What Big Cats Are in Connecticut?

There aren’t actually any big cats living in Connecticut. The only two big cats found in North America are the jaguar and the mountain lion and both of these cats are only found in the western states of the country. 

The much smaller bobcat is the only type of wild cat that you’ll find in Connecticut, although the Canada lynx might sometimes make its way there. Both of these wild cats are small cats and do not compare to the jaguar and mountain lion in size.

Also, Read About Mountain Lions in Florida


And that was everything about the Mountain Lion in Connecticut. I hope this article answers all your questions.

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