From Xplor for Kids
October 2013 Issue

Wild Jobs: Mountain Lion CSI Team

Publish Date

Oct 01, 2013

When someone spots a big cat, the Mountain Lion CSI (Cat Sighting Investigation) Team goes on alert.

Q: Are there mountain lions in Missouri?

A: Sure, but not as many as people think. We get dozens of reports every week from folks who think they’ve seen a mountain lion. But since 1994, only about 40 sightings have provided enough evidence for us to say, “Yep, that’s a lion.”

Q: What kind of evidence do you need?

A: We look for tracks, hair, and poop. Photos are good, too — if they’re of an actual mountain lion.

Q: Do people send photos of other animals?

A: We see lots of bobcats and dogs, especially Labrador retrievers. It’s hard to identify a moving animal, especially at a distance. Sometimes even the CSI team has a tough time. Recently, a lady sent us a video of a house cat sneaking across a baseball outfield. She was sure it was a mountain lion.

Q: What made you sure it was a house cat?

A: We placed life-size cutouts of a mountain lion, bobcat, and house cat in the same outfield. When we compared our cutouts to the animal in the video, it was pretty obvious.

Q: Does your work involve looking for clues?

A: Sometimes. A hunter once called and said he’d shot a mountain lion. We searched the scene and found the hunter’s arrow. We searched more and found a dead bobcat. At the lab, we matched the bobcat’s blood to blood on the arrow.

Q: If readers think they’ve seen a mountain lion, what should they do?

A: Email us at We’d sure like to know about it.

Also in this issue

You Discover

With birds flying south, leaves changing color, and hunting seasons gearing up, there’s plenty to discover in October and November. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Predator vs. Prey: Alligator Gar vs. Wood Duck

The struggle to survive isn't always a fair fight. Here's what separates nature's winners from its losers.

How To: Tie a Survival Bracelet

Parachute cord is as handy as duct tape when you’re outside. Use it for sewing, fishing, or to lash branches together for a lean-to. Make this survival bracelet, and you’ll always have cord close at hand.

Missouri's Vampire Hunters

This Halloween, you might run into a few vampires while you’re out trick-or-treating. But don’t worry. These make-believe monsters don’t want to suck your blood. They just want candy. Nature, however, isn’t so nice.

Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

Undead humans who hanker for brains? What a bunch of hooey. Zombies aren’t real. Right? Who believes in zombies, anyway? Not us. But still… it pays to be prepared.

Strange But True

Your guide to all the unusual, unique, and unbelievable stuff that goes on in nature.

This Issue's Staff:

David Besenger
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White

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