OAKLAND, Maine -- State biologists have begun investigating the second reported mountain lion sighting in a week in central Maine.
On Tuesday, Kelvin Higgins of Oakland provided a sample of fur and possibly some skin to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
The animal shed the fur while grooming itself on a rock in Higgins's backyard in April.
Higgins said he collected a pinch of fur from the rock, but didn't deliver it to biologists until reading an account last week about another possible sighting in Sidney.
"I'm not 100 percent sure it was a mountain lion, but it was a big cat, believe me," Higgins said.
Mountain lions, also known as cougars, pumas, and panthers, are large tawny cats with long, slender bodies and long tails.
They can weigh more than 200 pounds.
Mountain lions for the most part disappeared from the state in the 1800s.
The last documented mountain lion spotted in the wild in Maine was killed in 1938, but there have been numerous reports of possible sightings in recent years.
Biologists say many of the sightings were likely domestic cats, bobcats, lynx, dogs, fishers or some other animal mistaken for a cougar.
"It's hard to put a number on [the annual sighting reports], but many times," said Inland Fisheries spokesman Mark Latti.
"But in my eight years, it's always come back as something different than a mountain lion."
The sample from Higgins will be tested at a laboratory at Southern Illinois University to determine what species it came from.
"We'll be able to test it, no problem," Latti said.
He added that a DNA test is a very good indicator of whether the animal could be a mountain lion.
In another sighting this week, a resident in Sidney provided a grainy photograph of what appeared to be a large cat.
Latti said that no conclusions could be drawn from the photo because it didn't show the entire animal and no tracks or scat samples could be found.
Mountain lions were once widely found from Canada to southern South America. They are listed on the federal endangered species list.