When it comes to national parks, few are as popular as Yellowstone National Park. If you plan a vacation to the beautiful state of Wyoming, prepare to see some wildlife.
Several animals can be found in Wyoming, including plenty of large mammals. Among them are three wild cats: the Canada lynx, the bobcat, and the mountain lion. If you plan on spending extended time in a national park or just in the state itself, you will want to brush up on your knowledge of the wild cats that roam the lands of Wyoming.
The 3 Types of Wild Cats in Wyoming
1. Canada Lynx
|Size:||19–22 inches tall|
The Canada lynx is an elusive creature. It avoids human contact whenever possible and stands at a medium stature, reaching around 22 inches at the shoulder and weighing up to 30 pounds. Although they are larger than the standard housecat, it isn’t by much.
Even though it may be difficult to spot, it has a unique look that makes it easy to tell apart from other wild cats. It has yellowish brown or gray fur and is often characterized by its long ear tufts that are usually darker than the rest of its coat. Other notable features of the Canada lynx include a short tail and rounded feet.
The Canada lynx will generally hunt small prey such as hares, rodents, squirrels, and grouse. However, it’s more dependent on hares for survival than other animals. They are stealthy, nocturnal hunters. They search for prey alone and are capable of spotting targets 250 feet away from them in the darkness.
|Size:||18–20 inches tall|
You may come across a bobcat during your stay in Wyoming, although you might not realize it. Reportedly, many people confuse bobcats with the Canada lynx.
However, there are a few differences between the two wild cats. First, the facial tufts on the bobcat are not as pronounced as they are on the Canada lynx. The Canada lynx has long tufts at the ears, whereas the bobcat has shorter tufts. The Canada lynx’s characteristic tufts of fur at the cheeks are nonexistent on the bobcat, and the hair protecting the Canada lynx’s paws is not as present in the bobcat.
Bobcats have white bellies, golden coats, and bobbed tails, and they’re generally not a threat to humans. They prefer to stay as far away from humans as possible, mainly eating hares, rodents, and small deer.
3. Mountain Lion
|Size:||2–3 feet tall|
The mountain lion is a beautiful yet intimidating creature. You may have also heard it referred to as a cougar, panther, or puma. Mountain lions are the largest cats on this list, weighing up to 220 pounds. They rely primarily on deer as prey but also hunt raccoons, rabbits, elk, and porcupines.
They are tan-colored cats with white fur on the chest and belly and black markings on their ears, snout, and tail. Mountain lions are territorial creatures. For their population to thrive, they require a vast wooded or mountainous habitat. Since the open wilderness is dwindling from development projects and deforestation, the mountain lion population has declined significantly in recent years.
Other Large Mammals in Wyoming
Wild cats are not the only large mammals in Wyoming. There are plenty of other predators in the state. Grizzly bears can be found in the region. The bears can be massive, weighing upwards of 700 pounds.
Another bear in Wyoming is the black bear. They are not as large as the grizzly bear, although they can still reach an impressive size of 600 pounds. They are the most common bear in Wyoming and are typically solitary animals.
The gray wolf is typically found in the Yellowstone area. Gray wolves are large animals weighing around 145 pounds and feeding primarily on deer, elk, and moose. They usually travel in packs of four to nine wolves, although they can be seen in groups as large as 15.
Predators are not the only large creatures in Wyoming. You can find the moose and American bison in the state, along with plenty of other mammals. Although they are not predators, the massive animals should not be treated lightly. They are still powerful creatures that may attack if they’re spooked.
There are several wild animals in Wyoming, from wild cats to bears. While animals tend to avoid humans, that does not mean that safety precautions are unnecessary. If you plan on hiking in the area, be sure that you are prepared to conduct yourself properly if you should encounter a wild animal. If you encounter a wild animal, keep a safe distance, and appreciate the natural beauty!
Featured Image Credit: enki0908, Pixabay