Bobcat sighting mistaken for mountain lion - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Bobcat sighting mistaken for mountain lion

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- The bobcat at the Chattanooga Nature Center looks like a much bigger version of a house cat, but it's definitely a wild animal and getting hit by a car can be the end result of the feline on the prowl.

That's exactly what happened Tuesday morning on Taft Highway, but it was called into dispatch as a small mountain lion.

Jeremy Hooper with the Chattanooga Nature Center says, "The only chance it could be a mountain lion is if there was a released pet. The closest population is several states over out west."

Try 1,200 miles away in Colorado.

Hooper says the last confirmed sighting was in the 1930s.

Bobcats tends to call Tennessee home.

Hooper says if you come across one, you should look for a few differences.

The first thing is size. 

"The smallest mountain lions range around 70 pounds. The smallest bobcat is in the teens."

Mountain lions, being larger animals, also have larger paws, bigger tracks, longer tails, and look more like a female lion, not a house cat.

The only similarities are white spots along the ears.

If you're feeling brave and want a closer look, Hooper says think twice. Lions pack quite the bite.

"If you think it is a mountain lion, certainly a picture is your best bet to confirm it but I wouldn't put myself at risk."

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