Regardless of where you live in Utah, you’ve probably spotted more than a few wild animals in your backyard or even on trails of the Rocky Mountains if you’re a nature lover. However, there are quite a few elusive wild animals in Utah, and some are difficult to spot.
Your best chance of viewing the elusive creatures is if you venture out at night, and that might not be the best idea because you may encounter wild cats. Wild cats, you might ask? Do they truly exist in Utah? Yes, there are wild cats in Utah.
Are There Wildcats in Utah?
While there aren’t many wildcats in Utah, three species have been reported. They include Mountain Lions, Bobcats, and the Canadian Lynx. These are solitary, elusive creatures that would prefer not to have contact with humans.
Don’t let your guard down when hiking because even though they are elusive predators, they will attack if they feel cornered. If you’re an avid hiker or enjoy camping in the wilderness, you might spot one of the gorgeous cats. However, you need to be careful since they can be dangerous.
It’s best to know where and when you might spot one of the three wildcat species in Utah, and we’ll tell you a bit about each of them.
The 3 Types of Wild Cats in Utah
Bobcats are abundant in Utah, but since the creatures are usually more active after the sun goes down, it’s rare for people to see them just wandering around their neighborhoods. Bobcats live in Utah’s woodlands, forests, and mountains and only meet up with other cats to reproduce.
If you spot a Bobcat, you can identify it by its brown body, white underbelly, black-tipped tails, and the tufts on its ears. Weighing between 13 to 30 pounds, these cats tend to stay away from the human population when they can. However, even though they rarely hurt humans, it’s not safe to come in close contact with one because they are wild and unpredictable.
While they haven’t been known to attack a human purposely, they will go after small pets as they see them as prey, so be careful with your dogs and cats, especially at night.
2. Canadian Lynx
At one time, seeing a Canadian Lynx in Utah was at least more common than it is today. If you’re out hiking or camping and see one of the cats, you need to call Fish and Game Officials to report the sighting because sightings of the animal have been steadily dwindling over the last 20 years.
The cats are tan or brown and have black spots on their bodies. They are easy to mistake for a Bobcat, except for the longer black tufts on their ears and longer tails. It weighs 22 to 44 pounds but is much smaller than the next wildcat on our list.
While a Canadian Lynx has never attacked a person, it isn’t outside the realm of possibility, so be careful if you come across one when you’re hiking or camping out under the stars.
3. Mountain Lions
The Mountain Lion is the largest cat in Utah, with a tan body and black markings across its ears, tails, and nose. Males weigh 115 to 220 pounds, and females weigh 64 to 114 pounds.
Even though the Cougars are shy, solitary, and elusive creatures, they are still the wildcat you’re most likely to run into in Utah. They are widespread throughout the mountains and other areas, and while there aren’t many of them, their territories tend to cover large areas.
While attacks from Mountain Lions in Utah are rare, they have been known to happen. The big cats are dangerous to humans, and if you see one, it’s best to steer clear and go the other way. It’s estimated at last count that there were around 2,700 Mountain Lions living in Utah.
Respect Utah’s Wild Cats
While you might not see the wildcats of Utah very often, it’s still essential to have respect for the creatures. They are gorgeous animals, but they are still wild. Never get close to a Canadian Lynx, a Bobcat, and certainly not a Mountain Lion if you run across one on a trail or even in your backyard.
Respect the wildcats in Utah, and they’ll stay away from you. If you happen to run across one of the wild cats, don’t panic, and never run. Instead, try to walk away as slowly as possible without alerting the cat to the fact that you’re afraid.
If you try to run, it might consider you prey and chase you down. It’s best to get to safety and call animal control. Never try to capture one or take it home as a pet.
Featured Image Credit: herbert2512, Pixabay