Wildlife officials say that many people who report seeing a cougar in the eastern United States have mistaken it for its smaller cousin, the bobcat. Here are some characteristics of both.

COUGAR

ALIAS: Also known as the panther, puma, mountain lion, catamount, painter, or ghost cat.

Size: From 5 to 9 feet long, including a 2 to 3 foot tail, and weighs from 100 to 200 pounds.

Color: Short dark-reddish or yellowish-brown hair with a dark tip on the tail.

Lifespan: 12 to 18 years.

Prey: Deer are the preferred food, but will eat other small mammals.

BOBCAT

Size: From 24 to 40 inches long, including a very short tail, and weighs 10 to 25 pounds.

Color: Upper parts are reddish-brown, spotted or streaked with black and below is white spotted or streaked with black. Long, loose fur with longer cheek fur.

Lifespan: 10 to 14 years.

Prey: Small game, rodents and injured deer.

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