BIG CATS
 in Ontario

Over the years we have had many reports of sightings of Big Cats in Ontario, often animals which remain unidentified.

Ontario is known to have populations of big cats, Lynx and Bobcat, and the occasional Cougar being sighted, but none of these animals should be seen in the wild in Southern Ontario.

Having said that, we have had numerous reports from across the province, of sightings of big cats.

Whether these sightings are of big cats which have spread into this area, or they are escapees from private zoo, is unknown, but there are too many sightings reported for them all to be hallucinations!

THE BOBCAT
(Lynx rufus)

The Bobcat is the smallest of the three Canadian big cats, and is normally found farther north in Ontario, not particularly in Southern Ontario, however, that doesn't mean that it is never sighted around here. 

It is an efficient predator and prefers wooded areas where its primary food is rabbits and hares, but it will also eat geese and rodents.

This particular big cat is 18 - 48 inches long with a weight of about 21 pounds for an average male, but they can grow larger than this.

THE LYNX
(Lynx Canadensis)

Another of the Big Cats in Ontario is the Canadian Lynx which lives mainly in northern woodlands where its main diet is the snowshoe hare, and has a weight of 12 - 35 pounds, and length of 30 - 42 inches.  Males are usually larger than females.

Lynx, like other hunters in the forest, play an vital role. They are a medium sized carnivore and they target smaller prey species that reproduce quickly.

This big cat requires a mixed habitat that includes young forests with thick vegetation for hunting small prey, and older forested areas with a full canopy and good cover for building their dens.

THE COUGAR
 (Puma concolor)

The Cougar, also known as the Mountain Lion or Puma in the USA, should not be in Ontario at all, as they are found mainly further to the south and west of Ontario, mainly west of the Rocky Mountains, but there have been sightings in Southern Ontario, which are probably escaped animals.

A full grown male Cougar can measure almost 8 ft from nose to tail and weighs in at an average of 125 lbs

We always love hearing from our readers, so if you have seen one of the Big Cats in Southern Ontario, please write to us and let us know all the details!  

Please tell us where and when you sighted the animal, what it was doing when you observed it, what time of day this was, and any other additional information that you think our readers will find interesting.


LINKS TO INFORMATION ABOUT THE BIG CATS IN ONTARIO 

Defenders of Wildlife

Information about the Canadian Lynx, one of the big cats in Ontario, it's life-cycle and habits


The Bobcat Information

Information about the Bobcat found in Canada and the USA


Muskoka Region Information

There are big cats in the Muskoka area - official sighting of a Cougar in Ontario


Have you spotted a Big Cat in Ontario?

Have you seen a big cat? Paw prints? We'd love to hear about it, and see a picture if you have one!

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Unknown cat 
Was out hunting rabbits north of Kingston and saw some prints. Not sure what they are though, if anyone knows please comment below. …

Big cat - could be Cougar?  
This sighting was just outside Hamilton, Ontario, at 2 am close to Nebo Road on Airport Rd. The animal ran in front of my car and into the brush. …

Big Black Cat 
I was biking along bike path going west just before Orleans Boulevard. I went to my right towards river on a gravel road, just before a wooden bridge. …

Medium sized cat seen on the Don Valley Recreational Trail 
I was on my daily bike ride along the beautiful Lower Don Valley Recreational Trail and was just cruising along slowly as I always do so I can observe …

Lynx? 
I was at school in St Catharines, and in our field I saw a very large cat. It was light brown/beige and very big. It was definitely not a house …

Cougar 
I was stopped on a back side road in Cold Water, Ontario, which is just north of Orillia. I was looking for a house and couldn't find it. I was waiting …

Brownish-Grey Cougar-like Cat  
I was driving northbound on Woodward Avenue in Hamilton, turning onto the Burlington Street ramp and when I was halfway on the ramp I looked to my right …

Cougar in Wheatley 
My husband was looking out our back sliding doors one morning in Wheatley, Ontario, and said to me "I think I've just seen a panther". I thought …

Cougar 
I went fishing at Burns Conservation Area north of Burlington (south of Moffat) about 20 years ago very early one morning (I got there while it was still …

Large White cat like creature 
We are fortunate to live in an area with plenty of wild life (near St Thomas). I have twice watched a large white cat-like animal, move along a tree line. …

Saw a Lynx in my backyard in the winter 
I was walking my dog in my back yard, and I was at the side of my house walking toward the back, and I saw a family of Lynx. I ran inside to get my …

Lynx or something close spotted in St. Catharines 
My house is on the Twelve Mile Creek, in St Catharines, Ontario, and one day I was on a little walk in the back, as I usually do, when I saw a giant cat, …

Cougar in Toronto? 
Yesterday I saw an animal that looked much like a Mountain Lion. Historicaly, Mountain Lions have never been spotted in the city of Toronto. I am wondering …

Lynx in Winter 
My family owns a cottage in the Lake of Bays area. A few years ago, in the late 1990's, I was outside walking on the frozen bay, watching to see if any …

Cougar Before Sunrise 
Colchester South Township, East Harrow, Essex, Ontario. I was on a bike ride early one July morning, I came across what appeared to be a short, stubby …

Bobcat sighting near Norwood Ontario Not rated yet
Just had a Bobcat walk across the front of the house and I watched it go across the driveway into the bush. At first I thought it was a …

Huron County south western Ontario Not rated yet
Seen a full grown Cougar - main hwy 8 towards Goderich, in spring 2016. I saw it jump from from side of middle of road into ditch in one leap. …

Possible Lynx Sighting in Niagara Falls Not rated yet
While driving into Niagara Falls down Montrose Road about a kilometer away from Niagara Square shopping mall, I saw what looked to me to be a very large …

Cat-like creature near Port Bruce Not rated yet
Regarding the large cat-like creature - not just me but my sister, husband, and aunt, have all seen a similar feline, small cougar-like creature in the …

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