Sasquatch Coffee


“Black” Pumas: Yes Or No?

Posted by: Nick Redfern on September 13th, 2012

Neil Arnold has a good new post on the matter of curious cats of the melanistic kind.

He begins:

“A couple of years ago now, good friend, zoologist and all round great researcher Dr Karl Shuker, discovered a strange and intriguing antique print in a bookshop at Hay-on-Wye. He wrote of his find in one of the Centre for Fortean Zoology Yearbooks because the painting showed what was labelled as a ‘puma’ from the Zoological Gardens of London. ‘So, what’s so mysterious about a puma in a zoo?’ I hear you ask. Well, the puma in the print is actually melanistic! For many years debate has raged as to whether ‘black’ pumas actually exist in the wild, but evidence is pretty non-existent.”

Nick Redfern About Nick Redfern
Punk music fan, Tennents Super and Carlsberg Special Brew beer fan, horror film fan, chocolate fan, like to wear black clothes, like to stay up late. Work as a writer.


25 Responses to ““Black” Pumas: Yes Or No?”

  1. scotteb responds:

    The issue I have is, while yes I can easily see this point, “A Cat escaped in the wild, not known to exist in “x” area or at all and is allegedly black”, is the same point that someone might use against us. Ben Rad(you know who he is), would say the same thing about Bigfoot, it is simply an escaped apeish thing from long ago (or not) and mis-identified by all who see it.

    As a skeptic, I would assume anything is nothing more then what seems to be real to the sighted or observer.
    As a believer, I would assume nothing is real other then my personal observations.

    I have no idea anymore, on fakes, pics, photoshops, youtube, or even PG Patti. Simply my short takes on the above statements. I want so bad, after 40 years, for something to be there, anywhere. Getting scared after talking to Grover for many years before he died, believing. We talked on phone at least once a month til about 1997 or so. He told me over the phone at one point, either Patti was real or the foot prints he looked at, but not both as they did not match up. I know there are different points to that, over many books, but it is 100% what he told me. Also, there are many pubs listing him as friends of John Green, but there is a different story about their “friendship”, at least about 1996-97 what he told me. Did not seem a fan at that time, but many things change over time. I’d be very happy to share more, or what I remember with talking to him with anyone who might be interested, even Loren :) So you know I am not making any of this up, I can tell you where I called him, what college I was going to and already mentioned the years above. I still might have his personal number(at his university) somewhere in Washington.

    Since he believed so much in P/G and Grover, I after watching it 1000 times, can’t dismiss the film. It’s the other 95.75% and “Finding Squatch” crap that does not help me in “Finding Squatch”.

  2. DWA responds:

    Well, for one thing, I’d be cautious at the very least about saying – and I’ve heard it – that melanistic pumas “can’t” exist.

    Not only can we not prove nonexistence; but what prohibits pumas from exhibiting melanism? I’m all ears.

    The Eastern Puma Research Network says black pumas have been reported, if not regularly, and explicitly noted the possibility in a flyer I picked up a number of years ago at Savage River State Forest in Western MD. (Which may still be available there for all I know. Kudos to the state DNR for even having it there; but of course there has been at least one confirmed cougar track found in that area.) Since until recently ALL puma sightings east of the Rockies were greeted with have-another-drink…well, who’s to tell me that melanistic animals in that sample aren’t real because they aren’t recognized?

    The cinnamon phase of the American black bear is western. So is the Kermode (white) phase, which frequently has black cubs.

    Who’s to say that a melanistic puma isn’t an Eastern tendency? Which ‘doesn’t happen’ because Eastern reports are discredited?

    Personal experience: I once saw a black animal near the Foothills Trail along the SC/NC state line. I saw it from directly above; the trail was running along a high berm. It was certainly not a horse or cow or goat. My only options were: black bear; wild boar;….melanistic white-tailed deer!?!?!?! For years I thought naaaaah, no way….but it did kinda look like one…narrow body….large ears…..then I find this:

    So.

    Just sayin’.

  3. Desertdweller responds:

    I’m not sure what melanistic deer have to do with melanistic cougars. On the other hand, melanistic jaguars certainly do exist.

    “Experts” tell us that there is no such thing as a melanistic cougar.

    Eyewitnesses say otherwise. If there can be no melanistic cougars, what are these people seeing? Melanistic jaguars are a rare variant of jaguars, themselves a rare animal in the US. If the reports of black cougars are in fact reports of black jaguars, logic would dictate that many more “regular” jaguars would also be seen.

    Over the past two years, I have seen the “experts” grudgingly admit that the cougar is expanding its range into its former areas.

    I think that is a good sign of a healthy environment. What would formerly be considered either an out-of-place sighting of a cougar or a hoax are now considered valid (pretty hard to argue with the evidence of a body).

    If the cougar has a up-to-now unrecognized melanistic variation, it would certainly explain these sightings. The cougar is a much more plentiful and smaller cat than a jaguar. The chances of a big black cat sighting being a cougar rather than a jaguar is great.

    If there is indeed a black cougar in a zoo somewhere, why not do a little DNA testing and settle the question once and for all?

  4. deathstar666 responds:

    In response, I think it’s worth noting that as in the case of the UK (where the ‘black puma’ print is connected) and the United States we could be dealing with melanistic leopards, which were kept as pets, as records prove. In the UK the melanistic leopard was a popular pet especially in the 1960s, as Bengal Tigers are amonst the drug dealers in the US. Due to the recessive gene black parents would only produce black offspring. It’s important to look at consistent reports too, are there regular reports in the US of alleged melanistic cougars showing the slate grey underside ? is it possible people in the US are seeing black leopards but assuming they are black cougars as this is the native cat ?A melanistic cougar may have been housed in a zoo, but is the skin pigment strong enough in the wild ? In the UK sightings of black squirrels and black foxes are extremely rare but judging by the sightings of the so-called ‘big cats’ it would seem that in the UK we are dealing with melanistic leopards and not melanistic puma. If a solitary rare black puma escaped from captivity in the UK and survived in the woods of Britain, there would be no cause for a breeding population of black puma, but considering the amount of melanistic leopards released in the UK there is every reason for there to be breeding populations, hence the reason there are hardly ever any sightings in the UK of leopards of the normal pelage. If a body turns up in the US, ony then can we prove melanistic pumas exist, but for them to exist in the UK seems even more unlikely. I look forward to your comments.

  5. DWA responds:

    Desertdweller: melanism happens. Period. In lots of species. There isn’t a species for which I would consider it impossible, although there are some for which it might be unusual.

    Deathstar 666: Nothing is proven until it is. But I would say I’d consider sightings of a melanistic cat, otherwise conforming to the cougar’s general decription, in North America to be more likely cougars than escaped leopards. Because, the cougar being native, they are more likely to be cougars in the first place; and, again, melanism isn’t something I would come close to ruling out.

  6. deathstar666 responds:

    Fair point, but as stated before, if people are reporting jet black cats then it seems unlikely to be a melanistic puma. ‘black’ cougars would have slate-grey underparts. The original article was in reference to a ‘black puma’ at London’s Zological Garden’s, the painting clearly shows a cat with paler underparts. In the case of the UK, people aren’t seeing escaped leopards – but offspring of offspring of released animals in the ’60s – such was the extent of releases after the introduction of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act. I’d like to know if such a bill existed in the US.

  7. asecretcountry responds:

    Desertdweller responds:
    September 14th, 2012 at 2:17 pm
    I’m not sure what melanistic deer have to do with melanistic cougars. On the other hand, melanistic jaguars certainly do exist.
    “Experts” tell us that there is no such thing as a melanistic cougar.
    Eyewitnesses say otherwise.

    Yes Jaguars exist..we know that. :)
    There still is no evidence of a melanistic form of puma..nothing..nada..zero..
    Eyewitnesses report animals they think are pumas.
    So what..!
    The obvious logical fallacy is..It does not mean they are seeing melanistic pumas..just animals they think share the same morphology.

  8. Desertdweller responds:

    ASC,

    If we are to give any credibility to the eyewitness reports of melanistic cougars in the US, we have to allow that the eyewitnesses can discern the difference between a cougar and a domestic cat, and the difference between a cougar and a jaguar.

    Sometimes, that is allowing too much.

    There has been a number of reportings in the past year of big black cats that have turned out to be just that: big black domestic cats.
    So we can discount at least that portion of the sightings.

    Maybe it is harder to discern a cougar from a jaguar. Although the jaguar can be much larger than a cougar, of course there is going to be an overlap in the size of individuals. A large male cougar could well be the size of a small adult female jaguar.

    If we are comparing a normally-marked jaguar and a normally-marked cougar, there should be no problem. Only the juvenile cougars are spotted: maybe the juveniles of both species could be confused, although the jaguar’s rosettes have spots in their centers.

    Leopards’ spots are solid, and adult leopards are smaller than adult jaguars. More importantly, leopards are not native to North America. There is no US equivalent to the UK’s Dangerous Wild Animals Act. Regulation of captive wild animals is handled by the state governments. So there should be no mass releases of big cats as in the UK. I don’t think what the Americans are seeing are leopards.

    I live in a part of the US that is part of the cougars’ natural range. I’ve also lived and worked in a part of the US that is natural range to both cougars and jaguars. While I have occasionally seen wild cougars, I’ve never seen a jaguar. I have seen jaguar tracks in the sand of a dry streambed, and have been told firsthand accounts of encounters with jaguars, including melanistic ones. Even the melanistic jaguars are not solid black: the rosettes can be seen as darker markings.

    There seems to be no argument that melanistic jaguars are a tiny minority. If the sightings of “black cougars” are actually black jaguars, there would be many more sightings of regular jaguars.

    This leaves me with the conclusion that if people are seeing big black cats in the US, the only suspect remaining is the cougar.
    What other cat species are there? Bobcats and lynxes. A large lynx could be comparable to a smaller cougar, but looks nothing like it. The tall, tufted ears and the stub tail are very unlike a cougar’s. The bobcat, basically a mini-lynx is of a size that overlaps large domestic cats. As far as I know, neither bobcats or lynxes are melanistic, although I suppose it would not be impossible.

    What about our other big cat, the ocelot? Too small to be confused with a cougar, bobcat-sized. And a very limited range in this country, comparable to that of the jaguar. And it would certainly be rare to see a black one.

    So by this process of elimination, I would say the only candidate for a big black cat in this country (outside of the far Southwest)
    would have to be a melanistic cougar.

  9. Averagefoot responds:

    There is no reason a Puma can’t be melanistic. Whether or not any currently do exist or have ever existed is the question. Either way, it’s perfectly possible.

  10. deathstar666 responds:

    But as there is no evidence for the existence of ‘black cougars’ how can this cat be the only candidate ? In Australia there are numerous reports of big black cats too, this is marsupial country which also has never had something akin to the Dangerous Wild Animals Act either. As stated before – which people seem to be ignoring – black cougars would not be jet black all over , they would have a slate grey underside. A majority of reports in the US from what I’m aware of describe cats of a uniform colour. Black leopards and black jaguars from a distance would appear jet black (closer observation would reveal the rosette pattern). There may have been no situation in the US akin to the Dangerous Wild Animals Act of the UK but this doesn’t mean people haven’t owned or released black leopards. Until a body turns up – which is unlikely – we’ll never know – but it seems strange to rule out black leopards in favour of a cat not proven to exist in the wilds.

  11. asecretcountry responds:

    Desertdweller responds:
    September 14th, 2012 at 10:39 pm
    There has been a number of reportings in the past year of big black cats that have turned out to be just that: big black domestic cats.
    So we can discount at least that portion of the sightings.

    But the obvious problem is..the “big black cats” that were identified turned out to fcattus..yet the eyewitnesses and researchers would have suggested they were “melanistic pumas” had they not have been identified.
    What about the animals that were not identified..why could the witnesses just not have been mistaken..as they were previously.?

    So by this process of elimination, I would say the only candidate for a big black cat in this country (outside of the far Southwest)would have to be a melanistic cougar.

    Wrong..Argument from ignorance/argumentum ad ignorantiam.
    Witnesses are probably mistaken as to the color/size or species.

    ..we have to allow that the eyewitnesses can discern the difference between a cougar and a domestic cat, and the difference between a cougar and a jaguar.Sometimes, that is allowing too much.

    Since they can fail on the first example..the second example relies on even more skill..so..We agree.. :)

  12. DWA responds:

    Deathstar 666:

    “But as there is no evidence for the existence of ‘black cougars’ how can this cat be the only candidate ? In Australia there are numerous reports of big black cats too, this is marsupial country which also has never had something akin to the Dangerous Wild Animals Act either.”

    In Oz there are no native cats that anyone knows of. Any felid there – unless that previous sentence is somehow wrong – was introduced. This is why the emphasis on foreign cats; so far as anyone knows, that’s all there could be. In North America, there is a native cat that has one of the widest historical distributions of any land mammal. Which just happens to be the one we are talking about here.

    There is evidence for the existence of black cougars: people are reporting them. That is not proof; it most certainly is evidence. One cannot presume they are wrong; in some cases it appears unlikely that they were. The Eastern Puma Research Network takes the possibility seriously. I can tell you they know what a puma looks like.

    “As stated before – which people seem to be ignoring – black cougars would not be jet black all over , they would have a slate grey underside.”

    Melanism isn’t that simple. It comes in all shades. Remember: we are talking an extremely small sample size here.

  13. Desertdweller responds:

    ASC:

    You are applying the wrong logic here. What applies is Occam’s Razor.

    Which is more likely? That witnesses are seeing a color variation of a creature already acknowledged to be present?

    Or that the witnesses are consistently misidentifying what they are seeing; or making the whole reports up?

  14. asecretcountry responds:

    DWA responds:
    September 15th, 2012 at 7:31 pm
    There is evidence for the existence of black cougars: people are reporting them. That is not proof; it most certainly is evidence. One cannot presume they are wrong; in some cases it appears unlikely that they were.

    A dictionary description http://dictionary.reference.com of the word “evidence” is “that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.”
    But the same dictionary online says this about “proof”.
    “evidence sufficient to establish a thing as true, or to produce belief in its truth.”
    So, using their definition, I would be wrong and you would be right. :)
    But this is all slightly post modern in regards to hard science because its just a circular semantic flourish which leads nowhere.
    The idea that a melanistic form of pumas exist..from a scientific sense..requires a body on the table.
    Anything less..is just ex cathedra like assertions which keep falling back on logical fallacies to try and “strengthen” the belief.
    I can presume the witnesses are wrong.
    In all cases, its highly likely they were wrong.
    As has been already pointed out….if people cannot tell the difference between a house cat and a puma..ergo. :)
    This whole melanistic puma “argument” is the intellectual equivalent of how many angels can sit on the end of the pin.
    Lacking even just ONE body on the table has had no effect on the believers of this meme.
    And will not have an effect on their beliefs in the next hundred years.

    Melanism isn’t that simple. It comes in all shades. Remember: we are talking an extremely small sample size here.

    Deathstar was talking about normal melanism effects..and possibilities of coloration.
    You replied to his real world observation..yet used the term “small sample size” as if (I feel constrained since I cannot use the word proof or evidence) :) you have a body to verify your assertion..which you don’t.
    So you actually mean.. a “sample size” of anecdotes. :)
    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

    Desertdweller responds:
    September 15th, 2012 at 7:37 pm
    ASC:You are applying the wrong logic here. What applies is Occam’s Razor.
    Which is more likely? That witnesses are seeing a color variation of a creature already acknowledged to be present?
    Or that the witnesses are consistently misidentifying what they are seeing; or making the whole reports up?

    I am using Occams Razor. :)
    You are confused on how to use it.
    Back to my online dictionary.
    Occam razor-the maxim that assumptions introduced to explain a thing must not be multiplied beyond necessity.

    1) People are mistaken in their observation.
    Thats one assumption.
    People do make mistakes observing things sometimes.

    2) People are not mistaken in their observation.
    Thats one assumption.
    People can correctly observe “things” sometimes.

    But here is the problem.
    More assumptions have to be produced to “preserve” the second assumption that the former..if you want to use this maxim for the belief in melanistic pumas.
    Because the people are not just observing..they are claiming to identify the species.
    Or others are claiming to identify the species.
    We have to assume the person identified(correctly) the right family group/species/morphology/size/color etc and assume this form of species exists on the planet without leaving one body on the table for the last 150 years.
    So..if you want to use Mr Occams razor.. the witnesses are just mistaken.
    Thats the smallest/simplest number of assumptions. :)
    Just one assumption.
    Or you can use multiple assumptions..”beyond necessity”..to preserve your own beliefs..
    Which is what many will choose to do anyway..Occam be damned.
    Peace :)

  15. deathstar666 responds:

    Eye witness reports are not always reliable, and once again we have to come back to evidence – and there’s no evidence that melanistic cougars exist in any number. If all evidence was judged on eye witness perception then a lot of it would not stand up in court which is why no-one in the UK accepts any exotic cat species due to lack of evidence. A ,ot of people claim to see Bigfoot yet there’s no case for it as a living creature until we find faeces, or a carcass. Just because parts of the US are within the range of cougars does not prove that the big black cats being seen are melanistic specimens. You could easily have a number of melanistic leopards in the United States, and I’m of the opinion that until proven otherwise the black cats being seen are either melanistic leopards or large domestic cats. Melanistic pumas would have a lighter underside, it’s as simple as that. Until some actual programme is put into effect to research the possibility of melanistic pumas, we’ll never truly know. If normal cougars are beings een, shot etc, in the US then why aren’t black ones ?

  16. DWA responds:

    Um folks?

    Here is what IT chooses to mean:

    This question is unsettled, with the preponderance of the evidence on neither side.

    Period.

    Where Occam starts and stops?

    1) People are mistaken in their observation.
    Thats one assumption.
    People do make mistakes observing things sometimes.

    2) People are not mistaken in their observation.
    Thats one assumption.
    People can correctly observe “things” sometimes.

    Done.

    Although Occam would tend to postulate a native cat over an introduced one, there being no proof that there are black leopards running about the US.

  17. DWA responds:

    deathstar666:

    “A ,ot [sic] of people claim to see Bigfoot yet there’s no case for it as a living creature until we find faeces, or a carcass.”

    Not true. As those who are familiar with the evidence can easily point out, it is the case AGAINST the sasquatch that appears lacking. Footprints and eyewitness accounts alike are (1) voluminous and (2) consistent. Frequency and coherence are the only two requirements for a “case” to be made. So a very substantial one exists, substantial enough that one scientist has already come out for the sasquatch as a scientific discovery, just one that the mainstream hasn’t gotten its arms around because the mainstream remains ignorant of the evidence. (John Bindernagel’s The Discovery of the Sasquatch, 2010, is required reading for anyone who wants to understand this.)

    There is likewise no case against melanistic pumas, as it constitutes an effort to prove a negative. One must show that the eyewitnesses are seeing something else. Where is that case being made?

  18. DWA responds:

    One does need to address this:

    “The idea that a melanistic form of pumas exist..from a scientific sense..requires a body on the table.”

    “The idea” is irrelevant. They exist, or don’t, irrespective of “ideas.” Reality doesn’t sit around waiting for us.

    “Anything less..is just ex cathedra like assertions which keep falling back on logical fallacies to try and “strengthen” the belief.”

    No, it’s either: they exist, or they don’t. Reports are evidence that they do.

    “I can presume the witnesses are wrong.”

    What’s your evidence?

    “In all cases, its highly likely they were wrong.”

    What’s your evidence?

  19. asecretcountry responds:

    DWA responds:
    September 16th, 2012 at 7:18 pm
    Um folks?Here is what IT chooses to mean:
    This question is unsettled, with the preponderance of the evidence on neither side.

    Wrong….thats a basic logical fallacy
    I cannot prove a negative.
    The preponderance of negative results(no body)= melanistic pumas do not exist
    The preponderance of positive results(no body)=melanistic pumas do not exist
    Or do you sincerely believe that no body makes both “arguments” valid.???? :)

    Where Occam starts and stops?
    1) People are mistaken in their observation.
Thats one assumption.
People do make mistakes observing things sometimes.
    2) People are not mistaken in their observation.
Thats one assumption.
People can correctly observe “things” sometimes.
    Done.

    Wrong.
    Your confusing a broad generalisation using Occams Razor(which leads absolutely nowhere) with using Occams razor in this specific discussion.
    I showed an example of multiple assumptions required in this specific topic.
    Not one. :)
    Both “sides” don’t have ONE assumption.
    Or..disregard my specific identification points..
    Witnesses are mistaken=1 assumption
    Period
    The witness is correct in their observation=1 assumption
    Thats one assumption…which now requires..(there is no choice)
    An animal..unknown to science.=2nd assumption
    Period
    If you try and use Occams razor in this specific topic/thread..to support your contention of the existence of melanistic pumas..you negate your own idea.
    Its beside the point if you don’t understand this. :)

    There is likewise no case against melanistic pumas, as it constitutes an effort to prove a negative. One must show that the eyewitnesses are seeing something else. Where is that case being made?

    What the..
    In the real world..and on this page..there is a case against melanistic pumas.
    I cannot prove a negative..so i don’t know why you think that makes your belief more probable.
    “one must show..”..
    I have..
    But..in the real world..I don’t have to try and prove what the witnesses are seeing..how could I..or anyone in multiple cases..
    Misunderstanding Occams razor in specific cases,using appeals to authority and sloppy “logic” is not “showing” anyone that melanistic pumas exist. :)
    Its up to you to prove the positive..
    peace brother :)

  20. DWA responds:

    asecretcountry:

    Sloppy logic is presuming there are only two kinds of evidence: proof and bad evidence.

    And presuming “negative evidence.” There is no such thing, the precise reason one cannot prove a negative. One requires evidence to prove something. If one has evidence, one can prove something. If one cannot prove a negative, it is because there is no such thing as “negative evidence.” A lack of results speaks of nothing but the inadequacy of the effort. One cannot blame an animal’s nonexistence on the people searching for it.

    Clean logic? My posts, which stand unaltered.

    Eyewitness testimony is evidence. If unaddressed, it stands to be addressed.

    And now, clean logic restored, it really is time to move on here.

    Peace. ;-)

  21. DWA responds:

    Aaaaaaaaaaaafter saying one more thing.

    It is not up to me to prove anything. I have no dog in this fight. I just help people understand how to deal with evidence, an important skill in the hard sciences.

    It IS, however, up to EACH entrant of a thesis in a scientific discussion to defend that entry. Including the ones whose entry is: that doesn’t exist.

    Because “that doesn’t exist” appears to prove a negative, it is imperative for anyone advancing that thesis to show POSITIVE evidence for it, such as: every single “melanistic puma” sighting has been PROVEN to be something else.

    Has it?

    What is your evidence?

    If one cannot defend that thesis, with evidence and no, “they’re probably wrong” is not evidence, one is best off refraining from entering the fray until the proponents have proven theirs. Brickbats are simply obstructing knowledge, and why do that? An open mind is essential. If one can’t defend one’s thesis one must keep an open mind.

    This lack of understanding of how to deal with evidence cripples the discussion and blunts the spear of scientific inquiry.

    Now I’m done. Any issues, simply refer back.

  22. deathstar666 responds:

    I agree, time to move on as this has become rather tedious but must refer back to the eye witness reports which to me suggest that people are wrong in their descriptions. Are they merely seeing big black cats which could be large feral cats, or black leopards or is every witness 100% that the black animals theyve seen are genuine melanistic pumas – which wouldn’t be jet black all over anyway. So, if the witnesses are getting close up sightings of a very dark cat with a slate grey underside then fair enough, they are seeing a melanistic puma,but it seems to me witnesses are seeing what appear to be jet black cats, mostly from a distance, suggesting their is room to be mistaken.

  23. DWA responds:

    deathstar666: Worth checking back just to say:

    Good ending. We are in agreement.

    Of course, the very dark cat with slate grey underside has to otherwise conform to the description of a puma. But there is certainly room to be mistaken…and room to say: some of them, possibly, might be right.

    Which we can only know for sure when we have a specimen.

  24. leebousfield responds:

    I recently arrived back home from my honeymoon doing a road trip from San Francisco to las Vegas.I travelled from Monterey bay to Yosemite on the 6th of September before the journey to Pismo beach on the same day.
    I was travelling along the highway 156 just outside Hollister between Buena vista road and San felipe road which is dry hilly grass land.At just after 10 in the morning and was doing approx 55 mph when to my left of me about 250-300 meters away walking down a steep bank was some kind of black cat.

    On closer inspection I noticed there was no cattle in the field maybe due to being to dry so that took out the possibility of being cattle.I witnessed what i believe was some kind of big cat,it was by this time zig zagging down this steep bank when I noticed how long it’s tail was to its body which was nearly the same size.From my vehicle I would describe the size from ground to shoulder as 2 – 3 feet and length 5-6 feet and jet black in colour.My gut feeling was that it was a panther or leopard but it seemed to thin to be either as it more resembled a cougar or mountain lion but I’m unsure if they come in black.
    I got a good 10 to 15 seconds look at it and I alerted my wife but she never saw it.The thing that really intrigued me was it was walking like it didn’t have a care in the world and it was in broad daylight in clear conditions.I live in England and never see big cats unless you go to a zoo or country park so I was quite surprised and shocked on seeing this animal.I own 3 cats and I know my wildlife quite well so I know it couldn’t be anything other than a big cat.

  25. DWA responds:

    leebousfield: I had to come back to reply to this one.

    “I noticed how long it’s tail was to its body which was nearly the same size.From my vehicle I would describe the size from ground to shoulder as 2 – 3 feet and length 5-6 feet …”

    One North American mammal fits that description, the melanistic version of which we are talking about here.

    And since you were in North America – in prime cougar country – odds are that, if you saw what you describe – that is what you saw.

    To me it is far, far less of a stretch to say one saw a mountain lion under your circumstances – color be damned – than to say one saw a leopard. And from the photos I have seen of leopards – many – I wouldn’t note the tail as prominently as you, and many mountain lion eyewitnesses – do.



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