These are old photos – from 2005. The dogs and I were on a walk and suddenly they got very interested in this patch of mud on the trail. It took some doing to get them to not stomp all over it, so I could go back to the house and get a camera and a ruler.

I think it’s a kittycat. But those prints are pretty big and heavy for a kittycat. Maybe it was a fat kittcat.


  1. Bruce Fuentes says

    Depending on where you are from I would consider a Lynx. Only possible if you are in a northern tier state. A friend of mine is married to a guy that has a doctorate in Biology, his doctorate was studying lynx. I am going to have him weigh in with opinion.

  2. lorn says

    I can’t say as I’ve seen to many paw prints or have any great knowledge but it kind of looks like a bear print to me. Too big for a racoon, perhaps if it was a lot smaller. Pads and width seem wrong for a large cat, like a cougar.

    Perhaps a smallish bear, perhaps a younger black bear.

  3. says

    lorn@#4 & DonDueed@#6:
    I also wonder if it was a bear. I thought bear-prints would be more like dog-prints and would include some claw-mark. Apparently not:
    has a pretty good archive of bear paw prints. And some googling around – they could be cougar prints for all I can tell.

    I’ve had run-ins with bears of various sizes on my property. They’re pretty laid back. A large cat, now, that’s a whole nother kind of scary.

  4. says

    Definitely not a bobcat – I had a bobcat make muddy paw prints all over the hood of my jeep once (I came out and he was just sitting there, so I am sure it was a bobcat) and bobcat paws about about 3-4cm across.

  5. kestrel says

    OK. I’m pretty sure these are bear tracks. Although chigau is correct about the toe number, the fifth toe is not always seen in a bear track, plus claw marks do not always show in a print. Take a look at this site about cougar tracks: for a detailed analysis of cougar tracks. You will see these tracks do not line up with cougar. Take a look at the middle toes: in a cougar, these marks would have one toe longer than the other, and there are other differences such as overall shape. There are lots of examples there at that site to show what cougar tracks look like.

    Cougars are not really known to inhabit PA but bears definitely are. Having a cougar there would be really odd; having a bear there would be perfectly normal. My money is on the bear in this case.

    We currently have three known cougars in our “neighborhood” (if you could call a huge scattering of remote and isolated farms a “neighborhood”) and they’ve been spotted in game cams: a female and two older cubs. Many people have lost dogs to them (cats too). People, please, do NOT allow your dogs to roam. Keep them in your house/kennel/yard whatever!

    And people make fun of us for our Fort Knox chicken coop… that’s why I still have chickens.

  6. says

    Cougars do no, in theory, live in Pennsylvania any more. Neither did elk. Part of the problem is that hunters apparently re-populate areas with animals that they want to eventually claim “population explosion” so they can shoot a few. That’s how the elk wound up in Benizet. I admit I have some sympathy for that strategy – I wouldn’t mind re-importing a few badgers.

    I’m willing to believe it was a bear. I’ve had plenty of run-ins (always friendly and respectful) with bears and they show up occasionally where they will. In the back – right about where the elk was hanging out – there is a big mossy patch that all the critters like. I gather it tastes salty to them, and is a change in their diet; I came home one day and there was a venerable old black bear lying on his back with his feet in the air doing his best impression of a dead bear. I got a few pictures of him in that pose. I’ll look for them. Eventually he heard the camera and got up with great dignity and vanished sideways into the woods.

    Bears are really cool.