Mountain lions are wild cats that live in North and South America. They inhabit many regions and are known by many names – panther, puma, and cougar, to name a few. They are solitary animals that love to wander great distances. However, their elusive nature makes them rare sights to behold. Nonetheless, they have persevered for centuries, and continue to make history and headlines even today.
But do they reside in Maryland? Let’s Find Out!
Are There Mountain Lions In Maryland?
According to Maryland Wildlife experts, there are no native Mountain Lions living in the state of Maryland.
The carnivorous mountain lion is native to the United States. Years ago, it could be found anywhere between the east and west coast. They were left alone to roam around and hunt as many deer as they pleased. However, their story took a turn at the turn of the 19th century.
That’s when more and more people began settling in the country. The mountain lion population drastically began to decline. Eventually, they became extinct in many states. Maryland is one of the states that no longer has a natural cougar population. People still report sightings from time to time, but there is little faith in the theory that they’ve returned.
Where Do Mountain Lions Live In Maryland?
There are no mountain lions that permanently live in Maryland. There used to be, a long time ago. Known as the eastern cougar, the cat’s eastern subspecies is now extinct everywhere except for one state- Florida.
The setbacks that mountain lions have faced have only made them more adaptable. These cats can adjust and thrive in an array of habitats. Some of them are found high up in mountain ranges, and others are found in low-lying valleys.
Some live in dense forests, while others prefer open prairies and deserts. Maryland has plenty of land suitable for mountain lions to live in all it needs is a breeding population. The closest mountain lion populations to Maryland are those living in Florida and Nebraska.
Mountain Lion Sightings In Maryland?
Maryland has had its fair share of mountain lion sightings. However, none of the recent ones have been confirmed by state officials. You may wonder why, and for that, it’s important to know a bit about the cougar’s appearance.
Mountain lions are around 6-7 feet long and can grow up to 30-ish inches high. They are tan cats with beige-tawny furs. They are mostly mono-color, except for their underbellies (which are white) and the tips of their tails (which are black).
Their similarity to other cat species makes it easy to wrongly identify bobcats or big house cats as them. Their paw prints also look similar to that of a wild dog- the main difference being that a cougar’s prints do not have claw marks.
In 2018, there was a possible cougar sighting in Fallston, Maryland. However, officials could not find sufficient evidence to back that claim.
In 2019, a woman from Cecil reported that she saw a mountain lion in her yard. However, like the previous case, it could not be verified. It still caused tensions in the surrounding neighborhoods, and officials had to remind people that there were no native cougars in the state.
Also, Check Our Guide On Mountain Lions In the U.S.
Can You Kill A Mountain Lion In Maryland?
Maryland does not have a mountain lion population. Like other states, these animals were hunted and killed so much that their numbers were reduced to zero.
Each state has its own laws about killing mountain lions. In some states, where it is a game species, mountain lions can be hunted under certain criteria. In other states like California and Florida, it is illegal to kill a mountain lion, no matter what the circumstance.
In most states where there are no resident cougars, killing a mountain lion is frowned upon. This is unless it’s a case of self-defense where you’re protecting yourself, a loved one, a pet, or your property from a mountain lion.
What To Do If You See A Mountain Lion In Maryland?
Seeing a mountain lion in Maryland is highly unlikely, given the fact that there aren’t any living there.
However, in recent times, mountain lions have been spotted in states where they were once considered extinct. There’s no guarantee that they will never return to Maryland. So, here are some guidelines to protect yourself, should you ever see one-
Always remember that a mountain lion is just as scared of you as you are of it. Give it a chance to go away on its own, and it will usually take it. If this doesn’t work, keep calm and slowly back away from it.
Keep maintaining eye contact, and never bend down at any given point. If it starts to approach you, make yourself look like a predator by raising your arms and standing tall. Speak to it in a loud and firm voice. If it starts to chase you, don’t run away- you won’t be able to outrun it. Instead, fight back with whatever you find around- rocks, sticks, tools, anything.
What Other Big Cats Are In Maryland?
Little Maryland has only one little wild cat– the bobcat.
Bobcats are mid-sized cats with a unique “bobbed” tail. They once lived throughout the state, but lost much of their habitat to deforestation. Now, most of them are found in western Maryland. Occasionally, a few are spotted in Piedmont and on the Coastal Plain. They’re not as common as they are in other states.
Bobcats are solitary animals that hunt alone. In Maryland, they feast on cottontail rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, voles, mice, and birds.
Also, Read About Mountain Lions in Maine
And that was everything about the Mountain Lions In Maryland. I hope this article answers all your questions.