, 2014

Cougar spotted
in the Lively area

by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

LIVELY—Cougar sightings, once very rare in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula, are becoming more commonplace.

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Jo Crighton of Lancaster spotted a cougar on Christmas night crossing White Chapel Road a few miles southwest of Lively near the intersection with River Road.

“He was about 150 pounds and I’d call him wheat-colored,” said Crighton. “When I got home I looked it up and found out he goes by cougar or mountain lion or several other names.”

Crighton said there is no doubt in her mind the animal she saw bolting across the highway and across a field was a cougar. She got a good look.

She wanted to call and report the sighting to officials in Lancaster County but couldn’t find a phone number for the proper authorities. A neighbor suggested calling any number at the courthouse and reporting it.

“I called the county and the lady I talked to said she had a bear in her backyard,” laughed Crighton.

A cougar was sighted recently in the area west of Urbanna by three different people. Another has been reported in Gloucester County.

Crighton said she’d heard rumors that a cougar had recently been killed by a farmer in Essex County.

“I think it’s kind of surprising to know they are in the area,” she said. “It’s a public service to let people know they are around here and where they are.”

According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website, the typical length of a cougar is 5 to 9 feet. The cat, also known as a mountain lion, puma or panther, usually weighs between 100 and 200 pounds.

They are known to inhabit mountains and hardwood forests but may also be found in swamps.

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