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Distinguishing Cougar, Coyote, and Bobcat Tracks

How to identify cougar, coyote, and bobcat tracks

First, determine if the track is from a Canine (dog) or Feline (cat)
Canine tracks have definite claw marks, one lobe on the front of the heel pad, and 2 lobes on the rear of the heel pad. In contrast, Feline tracks rarely show claw marks, the front of the heel pad has 2 lobes, and the rear of the heel pad has 3 lobes. Canine tracks are typically rectangular in shape (longer than they are wide), while Feline tracks have more of a square or circular shape (length and width are even or track is wider than it is tall).                                 
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Canine-vs-Feline tracks

Then look at the size of the track
Adult cougar tracks average 3 1/2" tall by 4" wide. In contrast, coyote (and most other dog tracks) are longer than they are wide. Bobcat tracks are much smaller than cougar tracks, typically about 1 1/2" long by 1 3/8" wide.

 

Cougar, Coyote, and Bobcat tracks

 
Help us gather information about cougars and bobcats

Report cougar and bobcat observations

Main Michigan Cougar Page

 



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