Cougar caught cat-napping in tree?
GLENCOE — Was that really a cougar on the 200 block of Lincoln Drive last week?
The most recent mountain lion sighting literally rises above the others; the elusive alleged big cat was seen Friday in a tree.
“A cleaning lady went out to pick up the newspaper at the end of the driveway, and she heard a rustling sound from a tree,” said Glencoe’s deputy chief of public safety, Al Kebby. “She looked up and saw a large, tan, catlike animal sitting on a branch.”
She didn’t call the police right away, and “when we got there, no cougar.”
What’s special in Kebby’s view, is the possible mountain lion’s perch.
“This is the first one up in a tree,” Kebby said. “Fox don’t climb trees. Coyotes don’t climb trees.”
There has been a mangy-looking coyote or fox seen hanging around the Glencoe-Winnetka border area, which some Winnetka residents have identified as a possible mountain lion. Police from both towns converged on it late the same day as the Lincoln Drive sighting, and dispatched the diseased animal, Winnetka Deputy Chief Joe Pellus said. Kebby said returning officers were unclear on what it was, but it was more dog than cat. Pellus said it was a fox. Kebby said that Friday’s reported cougar sighting may gain credence because there’s a ravine close by, which leads to the lake. Perhaps the most credible of about four previous Glencoe sightings was made July 26 on the Dell Place beach by a paid-on-call Glencoe firefighter.
There’s still a question whether the thing in the tree was a cougar, however. A Glencoe police evidence technician headed to Lincoln Drive to make plaster-like casts of any paw prints seen there. Such physical evidence is the only way to confirm the presence of the animal, aside from photographs.
“They found what they suspect to be an animal print in the area, but we don’t even know if it’s a readable cast,” Kebby said. “Sometimes what you see and what you cast are different things, depending on what the soil is like.”
The print itself does not look at all like it was made by a paw, no matter what kind of dirt it was in, animal control officer Katie Sweeney said. She saw a photo of it Monday.
Unless a cougar has hooves, it probably didn’t leave the print, she said.
“I’m not convinced that it’s not a deer,” Sweeney said.
That doesn’t mean the cleaning lady didn’t see a cougar on the branch, she added.
Deer climb trees about as often as coyotes do, and a deer print near the tree may actually strengthen the possibility that a cougar was in it.