EWING — Residents in a Mercer County community warned Thursday about a large cat-like animal roaming the area have nothing to worry about.
A message from Ewing Mayor Bert Steinmann on Thursday warned residents of Ewing Township that a Mountain Lion or Bobcat had been spotted in the Scotch Road area near Route 295 (former Route 95). The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection was also notified and assisting with the investigation, according to the mayor.
DEP spokesman Larry Hajna said the animal seen in a surveillance camera image is a house cat or a domestic cat.
“We don’t have Mountain Lions in New Jersey. And to the best of my knowledge there are no Mountain Lions east of the Misssissippi,” Hajna said, although it’s possible a few may have migrated a little further east.
Bobcats, according to Hajna, can be found in New Jersey but usually in the rocky and hilly terrain of far northwest areas of the state or in the Pinelands. But whatever was spotted in Ewing is not a Bobcat.
“Bobcats have very short tails, maybe 6 to 8 inches long. The animal in this picture clearly has a long tail,” Hajna said.
Hajna said one picture show a tawny colored animal standing on an embankment of a parking lot. The other photo examined by the DEP showed an animal of the same color with a longer tail along a fence line in the same parking lot.
The Scotch Road area where the big cats was spotted includes the Trenton-Mercer County Airport, two hotels, warehouses and a Department of Transportation facility along with wide open spaces.
North of the interstate is Capital Health Medical Center, located in Hopewell Township and Nursery Road, with several homes in a wooded area.
Hopewell Police Chief told New Jersey 101.5 there have not been any sightings in his township, but did share Ewing Township’s Facebook post on Hopewell’s township, health department and police pages.