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Check these candid photos of a young mountain lion in the wild!

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, July 24th, 2008 at 7:18 am in Mountain lion, Wild Neighbors, wild predators, Wildlife.


I received the following e-mail on Monday, July 21, and answered it on Wednesday when I got back to work from my vacation.

I saw this wild cat on a drive out of the Pennacles Park outside of Hollister yesterday afternoon. I’m not sure what it is and a co-worker told me to e-mail these photos to you. If you can, would you answer back with what you think it is? I am very curious. By the way, it had a long tail.
Nancy Eagen, cyberspace


It looks like a young mountain lion. From my past experience with raising mountain lions, I’d guess this cat weighs about 60 pounds and is approximately the size of a German shepherd dog. Maybe six months old. Great photos! Talk about luck!

Do you mind if I use these photos in my on-line blog? If it’s OK, how would you like me to credit you for the photos? Thanks for sharing this! /Gary

That’s what I thought it was. A young mountain lion. My first time seeing one.

Please use it if you like. Unfortunately I didn’t take the photo. My boyfriend, Mike Connelly of San Lorenzo was quicker and grabbed my camera (Canon Rebel XTI with Canon 70-250 Image Stabilizer Lens) and jumped out of the car to take the photos. So he is actually the photographer.

We saw the mountain lion run across the road outside of the Pennacles National Park on Sunday, July 20. Then it stopped and just stared at us, giving Mike enough time to take the photos. We were also able to see the California condors on our hike that day (Bear Gulch Trail), though at a distance.

It’s very rare for anyone to EVER even see a mountain lion in the wild. Being able to take a couple of photos of the big cat is even more amazing. Now that’s what I call luck!

Enjoy these photos everyone. This is special. /Gary

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12 Responses to “Check these candid photos of a young mountain lion in the wild!”

  1. Dawn Says:

    Hi Gary, Sorry but this is an image of a bobcat.
    They have striped bars on the side of the face and more pointed ears (aside from being much smaller than mountain lions). Cougars also have dark bars on the sides of their muzzels. See a comparison photo of a young mountain lion here :

  2. Gary Bogue Says:

    My initial impression was bobcat, but then I started noticing some differences. I’ve raised 5 mountain lions and about twice that many bobcats over the years and I’ve noticed a lot of individual variation between cats both in size, color and markings. The lady who sent the photos and saw the cat in the wild also said it had a long tail. I wrote her back and asked her to describe the tail in more detail. This is her reply:
    “The tail was around half the size of its body I would say. It was long and skinnyish, not bushy. Around 2-1/2 feet long I think. Three feet may be a little too long. The body was definitely beige. I wish we got a picture of the tail, but don’t.”
    I still think it’s a mountain lion. /Gary

  3. Rob Says:

    Just curious Gary but you say you’ve raised around 15 cats over the years? (5 lions, twice as many bobs) ins’t that against the law? I’m pretty sure it is here in Colorado.

  4. Gary Bogue Says:

    Normally against the law, yes. When I did it back in the 1970s, I was curator of the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, CA, and ran their huge wildlife rescue and rehabilitation program. We had state and federal permits to care for injured and orphaned wildlife and to rehabilitate same. We got in a lot of bobcat kittens over the years and returned them to the wild. We also cared for songbirds, reptiles, wild mammals of every type, birds of prey, bears, etc. etc. I also had a special permit with Calif. Dept. of Fish and Game to work with mountain lions to develop a technique to raise and rehabilitate young orphan cats. DFG brought us 2-3 surplus zoo mountain lion cubs to work with over the years. An associate and I raised the cubs, “ran” with them in the wild to observe their interactions with nature. One of our cubs even stalked and killed a deer at about 8 months of age. We ended up rehabilitating the first, and I think only, native orphan mountain lion to be raised by humans and returned to the wild. We got it at about 2 months old. We developed a special radio tracking collar that dropped off after 3 months (we didn’t want to leave the cat with a collar stuck on its neck) and tracked the cub 24/7 for that time period to make sure it was doing OK after we released it. Those were definitely the “good old days.” /Gary

  5. Bill Says:

    I have some interesting picutres on my trail cam. Would you like to look at them and help identify? Please e-mail

  6. Bob Says:

    I have seen big cats all over the world in the wild and this cats looks like a bobcat from these pictures.

  7. Clayton Says:

    This is definately a bobcat. The facial features, ear tufts, and the ears are pointed not round. Young mountain lions (similar in size) would be lighter colored than this and have spots on them. I have actual photographs that I took if you are interested.

  8. jesse green Says:

    I would love to rais a moutain lion cub. I have raised orfand lambs goats rabbits and things. How would I go about having that experence? I live on 60 acres in Jones county texas. My poatal adress is 16947 county road 341 abilene tx.79601 and my phone is 325-673-4459

  9. Jim Says:

    I raised cougars (eastern, western and Canadian) for over 20 years and that ain’t no cougar…. There is nothing cougar like about the head. Ears are not round, coloration around the mouth is not correct and the snout is too short. This is more typical of a bobcat, caracal or lynx minus the spurs. Remove the long tail and its a bobcat.

  10. joe Says:

    That is NOT a mountain lion. I don’t know what it is but everyone has to have a personal mountian lion story regardless of the fact that the animal they saw was something else. Why can’t a person be happy to have seen an awesome animal like this bobcat without inflating it into something it isn’t.

    P.S. I would be thrilled to have seen that bobcat. Really cool.

  11. biddy mccolville Says:

    Saw what looked like a VERY hungry, dehydrated young mountain lion two days ago here in the high mountains of south western NEw Mexico. It had very long legs, very long body, small head and small ears. Tawny, dusty color, no real markings on the body. I was close to it, about 15 feet, no whiskers visible, and wavy black stripes on its cheeks, these clearly demarcated. Looked like an adolescent mountain lion I thought, but soo hungry, somewhat emaciated, and thirsty. We are in drought here.
    Anyone have any idea if young mountain lions have stripey faces? Biddy McColville.

  12. I. Says:

    I googled photos of young mountain lions, and came across this website. I saw a few days ago -while driving through the mountain- some animal that fits the description of Biddy (beige color, strong muscular legs, long body, round ears and small face). It was running fast along the road. The strange thing is that everyone tells me there is not such a thing in the Pocono mountains (PA). I wonder if it was a dog. What kind of dog could it be with the size of a German Shepperd and round ears and small face?

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