Cat or Dog?
Have you ever encountered a large animal track while out for a walk and wondered, "Is this a from a bobcat, mountain lion or maybe a coyote?" Well, most of the large tracks you will encounter along walking trails or in the surrounding cities and towns of Joplin, Carthage and Neosho are from domestic dogs. But once in a while you may encounter a track that is something a bit more wild. It is common for us to get calls from people who are concerned about the wildlife that may be traveling through their yard or along walking trails or in parks. Most of these calls do not turn out to be a bobcat, coyote or mountain lion problem, but with recent research that has come out about the diets of some of these animals it doesn't hurt to check into it a bit more closely.
Recently a study was released showing that a large percentage of mountain lions in developed areas have been consuming domestic cats and dogs. The study showed that many of these mountain lions had been eating pet cats and dogs as a large part of their regular diet. Now, mountian lions are extremly rare in Missouri, especially around Joplin, Carthage and Neosho. But, coyotes are increasing in population, especially in and around urban areas. Biologists have known for quite some time that coyotes eat pets. Cats and dogs in a backyard are an easy meal for a hungry coyote, especially since many coyotes have become very comfortable in urban settings are not concerned with the presence of people.
If you have noticed your pet being cautious when in the back yard or when out for a walk down a trail it may be that a coyote is lookign for an easy meal. If you think you may have a problem with one of Missouri's large predators like coyotes or bobcats, give us a call and we can help you determine if your pets are in danger.
The Missouri Department of Conservation put together this video to help you decide if the tracks you see are from a cat or a dog.