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Identity of big cat photographed in Granby subject of dispute

Wildlife biologists from the state Department of Fish and Game say it was a bobcat, seldom sighted but not uncommon in the area. They based their determination on photos Mike Major took of the creature.

“After checking with several of our wildlife biologists, we’ve determined it’s a bobcat,” Fish and Game spokesman Reggie Zimmerman said, adding the decision was based on distinctive markings on the animal’s coat.

“We could tell from black barring on its front legs, face ruffs and ear tufts,” he said.

Donna Major does not accept the Fish and Game assessment.

“I’ve seen bobcats. I know what they look like,” she said Wednesday. “When it ran away, it didn’t have a short tail, it had a nice long one.

“It was too tall to be a bobcat.”

A couple who were visiting the Majors also saw the animal, she said.

Donna Major said the animal she observed on Sunday had facial features more like a house cat than a bobcat and also lacked the distinctive side whiskers that bobcats have, she said.

Bobcats have gray to brown coats, whiskered faces and black-tufted ears. They are about twice the size of a typical house cat.

The feline had “massive” paws, larger than a bobcat’s, Mike Major said.

“The key things are that it had black markings around its mouth, striping on its legs and the long tail — that’s a dead giveaway,” he said.

He said Fish and Game officials are welcome to visit his property and measure a tree near the spot the animal sat to determine the animal’s size. They can also look for paw prints, he said.

“I have no problem with them coming at all,” he said. “I’d welcome it.”

Police Chief Alan Wishart declined Wednesday to weigh in with an opinion on whether the animal was a cougar or a bobcat, saying, “I’m no expert.”

But he pointed out that the sighting Major reported was unusual because more than one witness saw the animal and there are photos as proof.

“It’s a pretty good picture,” he said. “Other people in the house saw it, too. It’s a really large cat, that’s for sure.”

Legacy Comments4

We've seen him in our yard too-our research of the photos thought it to be a Lynx.

This is not a bobcat. Note the black markings around the mouth extending up through the nose. Also in the originals you can see the tail wrapping to the front of the animal over its paws. You can see its more than 8-9 inches, which is the biggest a bobcat has. More research is going to be done on this animal. The witnesses all said a 2-3 ft tail, and the photo's show its clearly longer than 9 inches. It has the markings of a juvenile mountain lion. Masswildlife Mountain lions, despite what masswildlife may say, are well known to be in Western Massachusetts over the years. Prints have been confimed, and DNA confirmed. A juvenile didnt travel a huge distance. So lets see what further research brings.

Have you considered that it might be a Canadian Lynx? They are bigger than bobcats and their tails are longer. Paws bigger too. And they range into Maine; this one might have come farther south to investigate :)

Honestly I don't see how it would possibly be anything else but a nice bobcat. Maybe a big bobcat with a slightly longer-than-average tail. Not a cougar or lynx.

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