Mountain Lions are most active in the winter, but are they real in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts residents over the years claimed to have see a mountain lion. Did they really see one or did they think what they saw was a mountain lion? We'll explore this.

Mountain lions, not to be confused with bobcats (which most people see due to how common they are), vary in size.

Bobcats have a much smaller tail, weigh much less and are not as long as a mountain lion.

What Is A Mountain Lion?

The mountain lion—also known as the cougar, puma, panther, or catamount—is a large cat species native to the Americas. Mountain lions are large, tan cats. Their bodies are mainly covered in tawny-beige fur, except for the whitish-gray belly and chest. Black markings decorate the tip of the tail, ears, and around the snout.


Mountain lions vary hugely in average body size depending on geographic location—their size is smallest closer to the equator and largest closer to the poles. Generally, though, males weigh between 115 and 220 pounds (52 and 100 kilograms) and females weigh between 64 and 141 pounds (29 and 64 kilograms).


Information from

In July of 2017 in the town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, a social media post on Facebook got a ton of engagement when Bob Fournier snapped a pic of what appeared to be a mountain lion.

Bob Fournier Facebook
Bob Fournier Facebook


Do Mountain Lions Exist in Massachusetts?

Most say no.

There is no evidence of a reproducing mountain lion population in Massachusetts, according to

There have been only two cases where evidence supports the presence of a mountain lion in Massachusetts. All other reports of mountain lions in Massachusetts have turned out to be other animals.

There was also a report of a mountain lion in the town of Sheffield, MA in 2019 as well as many others.

Confirmed reports of mountain lions in Massachusetts
There are two records of mountain lions in Massachusetts that meet the evidence requirements. MassWildlife cannot investigate or confirm mountain lion reports without any evidence.

Case 1
In April 1997, experienced tracker John McCarter found scat near a beaver carcass at the Quabbin Reservation. McCarter sent a sample to Dr. George Amato of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York and Dr. Melanie Culver of the University of Maryland. Both labs confirmed the sample came from a mountain lion.

Case 2
In March 2011, DCR forester Steve Ward photographed a track trail in the snow near the Gate 8 boat launch area of Quabbin Reservoir. These tracks were fresh and well photographed. Tracking experts Paul Rezendes, Charles Worsham, George Leoniak, and Dr. Mark Elbroch examined the photos. These tracks may have been made by the mountain lion documented in Greenwich, Connecticut on June 5, 2011, and killed by a vehicle six days later.

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Gallery Credit: Laura Ratliff

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