What is This Big Cat Caught on Camera?

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CLARKS SUMMIT, Pa. -- The sighting of a big cat over the weekend in Lackawanna County has caused a debate over what was lurking in the Dodge family's backyard.

That large cat was spotted in Clarks Summit and then it was gone.

But once WNEP's Kurt Aaron posted the photo to Facebook, people started guessing at what the animal was. Was it a bobcat or something else?

Nick Dodge and his family are used to seeing foxes, but what they saw over the weekend was rather unusual. The family's surveillance cameras caught a large cat of some sort outside the fence late Saturday afternoon.

"When I first saw it, I was like, 'Wait, is that a mountain lion? No, they don't live around here.' Then I saw and was like, 'It could be a bobcat, possibly mountain lion,' " Nick Dodge said.

Pennsylvania Game Commission officials say it's very unlikely it was a mountain lion. They haven't been in Pennsylvania in more than 100 years.

"It's probably a bobcat, but looks like a mountain lion, who knows, could be a mutant," Dodge said.

There's a pretty large swamp near this neighborhood in Clarks Summit and a lot of wildlife that goes with it. But on Saturday, the Dodges say they caught something on camera they didn't expect to see.

"Haven't seen anything like this before, so it's new," Dodge said.

"I was out yesterday night and this morning with a baseball bat in case I saw something. Don't know if I'd been brave enough to use it," said neighbor Ann Marie Flora.

Neighbors, including Flora, are now on the lookout for what the game commission believes is a bobcat. Flora doesn't want her dog Jet to become prey for anything, especially a bobcat.

"Especially when he's wandering in the backyard, he'd be a tasty dinner or appetizer for the mountain lion or bobcat."

Game commission officials say bobcats are around these parts but usually are out at night.

The photo has been shared more than 2,500 times on Facebook with more than 1,000 comments.


  • Rich Reitz

    Two pictures of different cats. The first picture is a mountain lion. The second is a bobcat. The first is a solid color. The second is much shorter and spotted. Just compare the length of the shoulder to rump of both cats. The first cat is definitely longer than the second cat. Looks like someone is pulling a hoax.

    • straubdavid9

      Naw …. 1st picture with cat in sunlight (colors/detail washed out). 2nd picture has the cat in shade with much better contrast!

    • straubdavid9

      Cat can easily look both ways due to the body positioning/atitude of the animal. One moment just walking, and the next slinking or lowering its body due to something it sees or hears.

  • Nancy Beckwith

    it is a mountain lion…i grew up on a farm..we had ledges..they lived there..All the farmers in the area saw them..they bother no one, at least so far, so we don’t bother them..why the game commission Denies they are here..and always have been here..is akin to the mayor in the Jaws movie…don’t want to scare the tourists away…plain & simple.

  • Barb Giambrone

    Gee it does look like a mountain Lion..I don’t think bob Cats are that …husky…and the ears and all…But i’m not an expert..umm…are they going to find it? or just ttalk about it and guess what it is..They should be able to find it i would think..

    • straubdavid9

      All they need to do is enlarge the second picture that they have for their answer ….. it’s a bobcat.

  • lickerblisters

    Sure is a mountain lion. The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon is loaded with them from Wellsboro south to Blackwell. If you don’t believe me, just ask the Cornell University researchers that examined the dead cattle carcasses in that area two years ago.

  • peatermoss

    Simple way to settle this debate, would be for channel 16 to get George Lowery on the air to give us his opinion, I think he knows more about this type of animal than anyone else on our area.

    • straubdavid9

      Just enlarged the picture in Picasa …… it’s definitely a bobcat ….. you can see the typical bobcat body/leg patterns clearly, as well as the black and white banded tail tip…………

      • hound.lyfe (@HoundLyfe)

        yup totally a bobcat. Not sure why they were portraying it as something large. If that is a 4 foot fence it has to be 6 or more feet behind it . The early morning/late day sun plus poor quality of zooming in on a security camera would not show detail.

      • straubdavid9

        So far, 15 people either don’t know how to enlarge a picture, or are too lazy to do it, or just refuse to admit they don’t really know what a bobcat looks like. Thanks for playing! You can lead a horse to water, but ………………………

  • Nick Staniszewski

    Are your reporters idiots? PA game comission has confirmed mountain lions in this area about a year ago, give or take.

    • straubdavid9

      Regardless of any mountain lions seen anywhere on the planet ….. this IS a bobcat. Picture with this article is fuzzy enough to obscure the markings and the tail is also partially obscured. There is a second photo that CLEARLY shows this as being a bobcat (Lynx rufus). There’s no debate here. Opinions are not facts.

  • Brandon Hussong

    A bobcat. They can get pretty large and end up about the size of a medium built dog. A mountain lion’s tail is normally as long as it’s body and in this photo, it does not appear to have a tail at all. Bobcats have usually a “BoB” Tail stub that can sometimes get up to a foot long. This is definitely a bobcat and we should be thankful that it’s not a mountain lion.

    • Michele Wasylyk

      That’s a mountain lion. A bobcat has a striped pattern on it’s body.. I looked it up online.it also has a short tail.

      • straubdavid9

        Bobcats don’t have stripes on it’s main body …. it has a “print” pattern. Might want to look that up again. Google: bobcat’s coat print pattern

    • straubdavid9

      If you mentally move that cat into the frame (chainlink area) of the gate (1st picture) …. it will fit …… certainly within the size parameters of a bobcat.Plus the second picture clearly shows the bobbed tail and the typical leg marking of a bobcat.

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