a cougar sighting
A 100-125 pound adult male mountain lion, measuring about
7 feet from its nose to the tip of its tail, was mortally
wounded when struck by a car near the I-29/I-35 split
just beyond the Platte County line early Monday.
Steve Nichols, Missouri Department of Conservation Agent,
said tests to attempt to determine whether the cougar
was wild or an exotic pet have been inconclusive thus
Testing on the stomach of the cougar has showed its stomach
to be basically empty. Its intestines had hair in it,
though it's unclear what type of hair, Nichols said on
After being struck by the car, the cougar was found in
the yard of a residence severely injured and was shot
by a police officer. It was found about 40 yards from
the interstate where it was struck. Nichols said it had
jumped a fence.
"If the animal was wild it was having a rough time
finding something to eat. If it had been in captivity
it was apparently not being fed," Nichols said Tuesday.
Nichols said the animal's claws didn't show any markings
of being caged, but there were no signs of it being a
wild animal as there were no parasites or nicks on the
"It's coat was awfully clean. I doubt we'll ever
know if it was wild or an illegal pet," Nichols said.
Nichols said people are supposed to register exotic animals
with the Conservation Department. The closest permit issued
for a cougar is to someone in Farley. No one in Clay County
is registered as owner of a cougar.
He said a cougar and a mountain lion are the same animal,
simply known by different names depending on what part
of the country they're spotted.
Nichols picked up the cougar's body about two hours after
the 1:45 a.m. accident on Monday. He said several cougar
sightings have been reportedboth before and since
this incidentin the Kansas City area but that this
is the only ever-confirmed sighting.
Susan Ratliff, 44, of Kansas City, North was the driver
of the vehicle that struck the cougar on I-35 near Parvin
Road. She was not injured.
Nichols said he never doubts somebody's story when they
say they've seen wildlife such as a cougar, but there
"just aren't' that many out there" to justify
the number of calls.
"There's a mystique about cougars. People want to
talk about them and want to see them," he said.
He explained there has been an explosion of bobcats/bobcat
sightings in Platte County. The bobcats are about half
the size of a mountain lion.
"Some people have seen bobcats and thought they
were looking at a mountain lion," he explained.