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Hayling Island Jungle Cat Encounter

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 20th, 2009

Darren Naish writes:

Over the weekend I had a mystery cat encounter of my own: I got to see and photograph the famous Hayling Island Jungle cat.

Naish, at his site, notes:

One of the neatest things in the collection (from my entirely tetrapodocentric perspective of course): it’s the Hayling Island Jungle cat, here being held [image below] by senior keeper of natural sciences Dr Chris Palmer. The Jungle cat or Swamp cat Felis chaus is an Old World felid that occurs from Egypt in the west to southern China in the east. It’s not native to Europe, at least not nowadays. So, when one was run over and killed by a car on Hayling Island, Hampshire, in July 1988, most people were surprised. Another dead one was found in 1989 near Ludlow, Shropshire: back injuries and an underweight condition led to the suggestion that it had starved after being injured by a car (Shuker 1995a, b). British cryptozoologist Karl Shuker now owns this specimen.

Naish’s Tetrapod Zoology site considers the question, “What are Jungle cats doing at large in the UK?”

What cryptid cats are in your collection? What Mystery Cat specimens exist around the world in private and public museums?

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


4 Responses to “Hayling Island Jungle Cat Encounter”

  1. Viergacht responds:

    That’s pretty neat, shame he couldn’t get a snap with the plastic off, though.

  2. cryptidsrus responds:

    Very interesting, indeed.
    That is a good question though:
    What ARE Jungle cats doing in the UK?
    Probably from private collections.
    Could also be previously undetected species. Who knows…

  3. kittenz responds:

    I strongly believe that Felis chaus and not F. sylvestris is the primary ancestor of Siamese and other oriental-type cats. Both species have been kept as semi-tame ratters for millennia, and, physically, Siamese have much in common with F. chaus.

    What ARE jungle cats doing in the UK? Apparently, living wild :) .

    They may be remnants of populations that have lived wild there all along; jungle cats have a wide range that within historic times has included Eurasia and northern Africa. Or they may have come from private collections initially, but living and breeding in the wild now. It does seem that if they had been there all along, someone would have recorded them as endemic wildlife at some point. But cats of all stripes are elusive, so maybe they have gone unnoticed until now, especially if they are rare.

  4. kittenz responds:

    I should have said,

    “jungle cats have a wide range that within historic times has included parts of Eurasia and northern Africa.”



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