Boot Shop Lane couple believes they saw a mountain lion

Monroe Animal Control Officer Gina Gambino will work out of a renovated facility with a small addition on Purdy Hill Road, thanks to a $500,000 state grant that will make the project possible.

MONROE, CT — A Boot Shop Lane resident reported seeing a large cat, she believed to be a mountain lion, in her yard last week. However, Animal Control Officer Gina Gambino says more evidence is needed to confirm the sighting.

“While we do not encourage people to endanger themselves by snapping pictures of large animals, the sufficient proof that mountain lions exist in Connecticut is just not there,” Gambino said. “The last confirmed sighting within the state was the mountain Lion struck and killed in 2011 on Route 15 in Milford.”

Those who think they saw a mountain lion, or any unusual wildlife, can always contact Monroe Animal Control Unit or the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, according to Gambino.

“If you have any immediate concerns of danger regarding wild animals or feel that your safety is being threatened, please do not hesitate to contact the Monroe Police Department,” she said.

Cases of mistaken identity

“While almost daily throughout Connecticut, residents make reports claiming to have seen mountain lions, residents must remember that there are many species of wildlife that can easily be confused for mountain lions,” Gambino said. “These animals include bobcats, which can be very active this time of year. Generally, bobcats will be much larger than house cats, but they are not nearly the same size as cougars.”

She said bobcats are opportunistic hunters that will go after smaller prey, such as birds and various size rodents.

“A resident in the Whitney Farms area recently posted video footage of his chicken coop being preyed-upon by a bobcat,” Gambino said. “Fisher cats may also be mistaken for other animals such as large cats or even small bears, but are actually members of the weasel family, despite their name.”

Fisher cats, are a dark animal with a panther-like appearance and long tail, according to Gambino.

“Seeing a wild cat can be both frightening and exciting, and it’s common for people to mistake one species of cat from the other,” she said.

Boot Shop Lane sighting

The Boot Shop Lane resident told Monroe Animal Control she and her husband were inside their home around 9:30 p.m. last Wednesday when they heard an animal screaming loudly outside. They turned on their yard lights and went outside to see what the noise was and she saw a large brown animal with a long U-shaped tail.

She said the animal was startled and quickly ran around the side of the home and out of sight.

The couple told animal control they did a Google search to identify what a mountain lion sounds like and found audio recordings that matched what they had heard.

After reporting Wednesday’s sighting, they reported hearing identical animal noises on Thursday evening as well, after reporting Wednesday’s initial sighting.

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