Posted by: Karl Shuker on July 28th, 2014
Although it can often equal or even exceed the leopard Panthera pardus in overall size, the puma Puma concolor is not a ‘big cat’ in the strict scientific sense – its throat structure, for example, is quite different from that of true big cats (i.e. belonging to the genus Panthera). It is particularly surprising, therefore, that successful matings between pumas and some of the Panthera species have occurred – the resulting hybrids thereby being intergeneric rather than merely interspecific.
Probably the most famous of these were the several litters of puma x leopard hybrids bred in 1898 at German animal dealer Carl Hagenbeck’s Tierpark (which moved premises to Hamburg’s Stellingen quarter in 1907). One of these was a pumapard (male puma x leopardess hybrid) raised by a fox terrier bitch that was displayed at Hagenbeck’s Tierpark during the first decade of the 20th Century. This specimen resembled a puma in overall form but was noticeably smaller in size than either of its progenitor species and was marked with pronounced rosettes and blotches. It also had a very long tail.
Further details can be accessed here on my ShukerNature blog.
My name is Dr Karl P.N. Shuker. I am a zoologist (BSc & PhD), media consultant, and the author of 21 books and hundreds of articles, specialising in cryptozoology and animal mythology. I have a BSc (Honours) degree in pure zoology from the University of Leeds (U.K.), and a PhD in zoology and comparative physiology from the University of Birmingham (U.K.). I have acted jointly as consultant and major contributor to three multi-author volumes on cryptozoology and other mysterious phenomena. I am the Life Sciences Consultant to The Guinness Book of Records/Guinness World Records (Guinness: London, 1997-present day), and was consultant to Monsters (Lorenz Books: London, 2001), as well as a contributor to Mysteries of the Deep (Llewellyn: St Paul, 1998), Guinness Amazing Future (Guinness: London, 1999), The Earth (Channel 4 Books: London, 2000), and Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained (Chambers: London, 2007). I appear regularly on television & radio, was a consultant for the Discovery TV series Into the Unknown, and a question setter for the BBC's quiz show Mastermind. I am a Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, a Member of the Society of Authors, and the Cryptozoology Consultant for the Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ). I have written articles for numerous publications, including Fortean Times, The X Factor, Paranormal Magazine, FATE, Strange Magazine, Prediction, Beyond, Uri Geller's Encounters, Phenomena, Alien Encounters, Wild About Animals, All About Cats, All About Dogs, Cat World, etc. In 2005, I was honoured by the naming of a new species of loriciferan invertebrate after me - Pliciloricus shukeri.