DNR: 'Cougar' spotted in Eden Prairie is probably just a coyote

There have been other purported big cat sightings in the area recently.
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If you're bothered by the thought of a big cat prowling around Eden Prairie, well, take a breath — you don't have to worry.

Probably.

There have been two purported sightings of a "cougar" (also known as a mountain lion, puma or panther) in the city over the past couple of weeks, including one that may have been photographed by a trail camera near Purgatory Creek.

A resident in the area also called to report having seen the animal.

The photograph, taken Monday, was submitted to the Minnesota DNR. 

Their verdict?

"While the image is grainy, the experts agree the animal is a canine of some sort, probably a coyote," the police department said in a news release.

The snapshot came about five days after the department received a secondhand report about a possible cougar sighting on the west side of Staring Lake.

As police mentioned in an earlier news release, there were two sightings of a large cat "looking like a cougar" in Bloomington at around the same time as the first Eden Prairie sighting. 

Big cat sightings are not exactly rare in Minnesota, but actual big cats do seem to be pretty unusual, with the department noting:

Since 2010, the Department has received an average of one call each year regarding possible cougar/mountain lion sightings in Eden Prairie. In most cases, responding officers have found evidence to indicate the presence of another animal that was likely mistaken for a cougar/mountain lion.

That said, the DNR has a handy list of tips to study up on in case you ever find yourself face to face with a cougar. 

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