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Published: Wednesday, 2/5/2003

Waterville Twp. hunts for a `mountain lion'

Waterville Township police are investigating a report of a huge animal seen rummaging through garbage cans yesterday along Noward Road.

The sighting was about 3:30 a.m. when township police Officer Brett Warner reported seeing a “mountain lion” pawing its way through garbage cans between State Rt. 64 and Neapolis-Waterville Road.

“Nobody can get close enough to determine what it is,” township police Chief Bonnie Hearndon said. “We don't know where it lives.”

There have been no reports of attacks on people or livestock, police said.

Officer Warner followed the animal for about an hour. The animal would run as the officer approached.

“We are not aware of any free-ranging mountain lions in Ohio,” said Scott Butterworth, assistant wildlife management supervisor for Ohio Division of Wildfire in Findlay.

A mountain lion is a large animal with a long tail and is up to five feet long - not including the tail. They weigh from 80 to 200 pounds, he said.

Coyotes have a long tail and weigh about 45 pounds. Bobcats are 21/2 feet in length with a short stubby tail. They weigh 15 to 35 pounds.

There are a number of coyotes in northwest Ohio.

The department gets infrequent bobcat sightings in northwest Ohio. Bobcats are more likely in the southeastern part of the state, Mr. Butterworth said.

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