Just imagine that you love animals and you’re dying to get a glimpse of the graceful, shy, strong mountain lion about whom you’ve heard so much. But really, what are your chances of seeing one in real life? Unfortunately, very low indeed.
And if you live in one of the East Coast states, your chances just got much lower. We’re sad to tell you that only about 14 US states have official mountain lion populations and they’re all out west. But does Mountain Lion reside in Maine? Let’s Find Out!
Are There Mountain Lions In Maine?
If we all traveled back in time and were writing this article in the 1920s, we would have been able to say yes, they do. Without time travel, now in the 2020s, the answer is no, there aren’t any mountain lions in Maine. Officially, the last one died in 1932.
It’s a well-known fact that the eastern cougar (another name for the mountain lion, along with puma, panther, ghost cat, and catamount) died out in the early 1900s, right? And Maine’s about as east as it can get.
On the other hand, Maine’s not that far from Canada and we know there are mountain lions living in Canada. So what’s the truth then? People say they’ve sighted mountain lions so how can there be none living there?
Well, maybe the mountain lions we’re seeing in Maine are just tourists, wandering in from neighboring states (or countries). We know for sure that they’ve been sighted in Quebec.
In fact, at least three mountain lions are confirmed to have been killed in Quebec, which is just steps away from Maine. Saying there’s ‘no official mountain lion population in Maine’ is just a fancy way of saying they haven’t been born in the state for decades.
Mountain Lion Sightings In Maine?
Do you know the number of confirmed mountain lion sightings in Maine since the 1930s? Only two. That’s insanely low, right?
Especially given how many Maine residents are convinced mountain lions live in the state. People regularly seem to come across paw prints, although clear photographs are rare and are usually dismissed as other cats.
The most recent confirmed sighting was from 1996. And even now, one of the most interesting stories is by a biologist from the California Fish and Game Department. This is a man who’s actually worked with mountain lions before and here he was claiming to have seen a black mountain lion from 15 feet away.
From what we know, black mountain lions don’t even exist. The animals that are called black panthers are actually black jaguars or black leopards (and you’ll be surprised to know neither of these live in Maine). So how’s it even possible?
His story hasn’t been confirmed but maybe we don’t know as much about mountain lions as we think we do. I mean, they’re called ghost cats after all. Maybe they’re just really good at covering their tracks (pun unintended).
Also, Check Our Guide On Mountain Lions In the U.S.
Can You Shoot a Mountain Lion In Maine?
Since Maine doesn’t have an official population of mountain lions, they obviously don’t have any laws about killing them. There are only a few US states where hunting big cats is allowed by law, such as Texas or Colorado.
Everywhere else, you’re allowed to kill a mountain lion at any time only if it threatens you or your livestock. You also have to report any mountain lion bodies to the Fish and Game Department since you don’t want to get into trouble about possibly selling parts.
What To Do If You See a Mountain Lion In Maine?
How can I see a mountain lion in Maine if they don’t live in Maine, you’ll ask. You’re right, you’re pretty unlikely to see one. But it wouldn’t do to be unprepared, right? The worst thing you can do in a scenario where you come face to face with a mountain lion is to turn and run. You’re just asking to be chased.
One thing we don’t usually understand about these animals is that they’re pretty scared of us. There’s a reason they’re so elusive. Mountain lion attacks are so rare it’s almost like they don’t happen at all. If you stand at your full height and stare down a mountain lion, it’ll most probably back off. Making a lot of noise will scare it away even faster because they’re afraid of the ruckus.
A mountain lion might attack if it feels like you’re about to threaten its babies. So if you can stay away from any mountain lion cubs, that’s great. If you do get attacked though, remember that you can and should fight back. Playing dead with a mountain lion won’t help. People have fought them off before and keeping pepper spray on you while hiking always helps.
What Big Cats Live In Maine?
The United States has the honor of hosting two of the seven big cats, the jaguar and the mountain lion. And since they both live out west, technically none of the big cats live in Maine. Bobcats and the Canadian lynx are two species of wild cats that live in the state and are often confused for big cats.
If you see a wild cat that you think is the mountain lion, you’re probably spotting the bobcat or the lynx. Their sizes are much smaller and their tails definitely aren’t as long and fluffy but in a moment of excitement, it’s a natural mistake to make. It’s hard to make out the difference even on game cameras so can we really blame our fallible human eyes?
Also, Read About Mountain Lions in Louisiana
And that was everything about the Mountain Lion in Maine. I hope this article answers all your questions.