With about 90,000 square kilometers of habitat (34,168 square miles), Washington’s cougar population is currently somewhere around 1,500 animals and likely declining due to increased trophy hunting and habitat loss.
- Washington is home to some 2,100 cougars; over the past century, the state has experienced two fatal cougar attacks. In the same period, all of North America has seen 95 nonfatal attacks and 25 fatalities.
How many Cougars are there in Washington State?
There are an estimated 3,500 to 4,000 cougars in Washington state and they are living close to people. “My own research showed that the average cougar in Western Washington spends about 16-percent of its time in areas with residential development,” said WDFW carnivore research scientist Dr.
How common are cougar attacks in Washington state?
Cougars are rarely spotted, but fairly common in Washington. Officials believe about 2,000 of the animals call the state home. Attacks are rare, but can be dangerous. Back in 2018, a cougar attacked a pair of cyclists outside Snoqualmie, killing one and injuring another.
Where are cougars in Washington state?
In Washington State, cougars can be found throughout most of the forested areas of the state. The only habitats from which they are absent are on the islands of Puget Sound and in the Columbia basin country.
Does Wa State have cougars?
Cougars occur throughout Washington where suitable cover and prey are found. Cougars use steep canyons, rock outcroppings and boulders, or vegetation — such as dense brush and forests — to remain hidden while hunting.
Can you shoot a cougar in Washington?
According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, cougars are classified as game animals and an open season and a hunting license are required to hunt them (WAC 232-12-007). No permit is required. The killing of a cougar in self-defense, or defense of another, should be reasonable and justified.
Are there black cougars in Washington state?
WDFW officials have said they doubt it is a panther, instead noting that some wild animals develop a black pigment to their fur. Mick Cope, Regional Wildlife Program Manager in the Olympic Peninsula for WDFW, said it’s possible, although very rare, for a Northwest cougar to be black.
What to do if you see a cougar?
If the cougar is closer
- Do not run. Do not turn your back.
- Make sure children and dogs stay calm. Keep them very close.
- Make yourself look big. Wave your arms, open your jacket and do not crouch down or bend over.
- Use your noise deterrent and bear spray.
Are cougar sightings rare?
True cougar sightings are relatively low in number as they are elusive and generally not found within heavily populated areas. Cougars are active at all times of the day. If they enter open habitats and areas near humans, they typically do so when it is dark. It is very rare for people to hear the sounds cougars make.
What’s the difference between a cougar and a bobcat?
Cougars and bobcats are most easily distinguished by their size. Cougars are considered large cats, with bodies 5 to 6 feet in length including their long tails. Bobcats are mid-sized cats measuring just 2 to 3.5 feet long and weighing up to 40 pounds, about twice the size of a domestic cat.
What animal eats a cougar?
Mountain lion enemies don’t threaten the cougar via predation; cougars have no natural predators. They do, however, compete with gray wolves and grizzly bears for resources and can come into conflict with these animals as a result. The greatest enemy and one of the only true cougar predators is humankind.
What are cougars afraid of?
Cougar Signs Experts such as Debra Chase, CEO of the Mountain Lion Foundation, say that cougars are mostly afraid of humans and don’t see us as potential prey. Occasionally, though, humans fool them. Quick movements, such as running or bicycling, which make humans resemble prey, sometimes lead to cougar attacks.
What time of day are cougars active?
Most active at dusk and dawn, cougar can roam and hunt throughout the day or night in all seasons. They have ranges up to 300 sq km and may roam up to 80 km in a single day.
How do you tell if a cougar is in the area?
If a cougar is in the area and you are lucky enough to detect its presence, most often it will be due to “cougar sign” and not actually seeing the animal. These signs are evidence left behind after a cougar has passed through. Cougar signs include tracks, scat, scratches and cached (partially buried) prey.
What is the difference between a cougar and a mountain lion?
All cougars have a tawny coat with a lighter underbelly. However, differences in coloration are seen depending on the climate. Mountain lions may have silvery, slightly longer fur, while cougars from warm areas – the Florida panther and the South American cougar – have a more reddish coloration.
How big is a full grown cougar?
An adult cougar can range in length from 42 to 54 inches, with a 3-foot-long tail. Adult males weigh up to 200 pounds, and adult females up to 120 pounds.