Black Mystery Cats Terrorize Oz

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 19th, 2007

Kitty Kitty

In Australia, talk of recent sightings has increased since one or two large mystery cats reportedly killed a young horse in the Modewarre region, near Geelong, Victoria, media noted on September 18 and 19, 2007.

Perhaps you feel my use of “terrorizing” is too sensational in my headline? Well, read what headlines are being used in Sydney this morning: “Fears rural lions could snatch kids.”

The cats – supposedly two – appear to look like black leopards (known species shown above).

Here are three Australian articles:

A researcher suspects two big cats might have feasted together on a horse foal killed in a Geelong district paddock.

Simon Townsend said up to 40 kilograms of meat had been methodically stripped from the bones of the new foal within the space of eight hours.

“It was incredibly neat and tidy the way it was eaten and there were some gouge marks which showed this thing was very very strong,” Mr Townsend said.

“It wasn’t like a dog chewing a bone where they mess around with it for ages, and talking to the people involved 40kg-plus was taken.

“That’s a lot of meat … my suspicion is two animals were involved to eat so much, an adult and a grown young one which hasn’t left her.”

The owners of the foal were horrified to discover the bones in a paddock on grass clean of blood eight hours after they had checked the foal and found it suckling and running.

The find dramatically sharpened belief that big cats are alive and feeding on bush fringes.

Farmers accustomed to finding killed sheep in paddocks are disturbed by the turn to a new prey and by the almost total consumption of the foal’s flesh, skin and organs.

The Geelong Advertiser is not naming the location of the kill to protect district people from invasion by others hoping to see or kill a big cat.

Mr Townsend has studied big cat reports for many years and said farmers had been reporting stock losses worth thousands of dollars.

He said the clean nature of the kill and trauma at the base of the foal’s skull were consistent with big cat kill reports but he had not heard of horse attacks in the district.

“Down this way I’ve never come across it at all,” Mr Townsend said.

“Usually a mare is very defensive and if a foal is dead it usually hangs around the corpse for a couple of days.

“I understand this mare was not happy, she bolted.”

NSW researcher Michael Williams has spent six years researching a book on big cat mysteries and said the photos of the foal’s remains were distinctive.

“Normal dog attacks are all over the place but this looked like a surgical operation done with a vacuum cleaner when a cat has done it,” Mr Williams said.

Mr Townsend urged people to report big cat sightings to him on 0427 101 223. by Danny Lannen, “Gouge marks back big cat theory,” Geelong Advertiser, September 18, 2007.

A woman believes a big cat chased and spooked her horses into a frenzy in a paddock near Bannockburn.

The woman told yesterday of having watching the ordeal in bright moonlight at 2am six weeks ago and said her horses “went nuts”.

She spoke out after having read Geelong Advertiser stories about a Geelong district horse foal kill.

The woman said she was woken by her barking dogs, went outside to check the horses and saw the cat in action.

“It was black and moved like a leopard and all of that,” the woman said.

“The horses were just going nuts. They’re both usually pretty quiet, but it scared them.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, believes the cat could have easily taken a foal and a mare would have been too scared to intervene.

The woman said she and her partner had seen two big cats run away across a paddock a couple of kilometres away in broad daylight about a year ago.

An independent researcher suspects two big cats might have stripped up to 40 kilograms of meat and organs from a foal killed in a paddock near Geelong.

The owners of the foal were horrified to discover the bones in a paddock on grass clean of blood eight hours after they had checked the foal and found it suckling and running.

The find dramatically sharpened belief that elusive big cats are alive and feeding on bush Danny Lannen, “Another big cat sighting,” Geelong Advertiser, September 19, 2007.

And finally…

A Victorian animal researcher believes mountain lions are roaming the state and fears a child could be taken.

The concern comes after the killing and devouring of a newborn foal in the Modewarre region, near Geelong.

Big cat researcher Simon Townsend said the foal was probably killed by two of the mysterious big cats, and virtually stripped clean.

“We do have exotic large cats here, in very low numbers, but I believe they’re a self-supporting population,” Mr Townsend said.

“The kills themselves are almost like a signature — the way something is killed and eaten — but without a specimen of one of the animals, we can’t be certain.

“What happens when some kid gets bowled over? I reckon that’s on the cards, myself.

“Without wanting to be alarmist, I think that needs looking at because of that potential.”

Mr Townsend said the foal was seen late at night suckling from its mother. Eight hours later, all that remained was its skeleton.

He ruled out foxes because of the quantity of flesh removed, and said dogs were not responsible because of the nature of the attack.

“The amount of material removed was pretty spectacular and they’ve eaten so neatly and cleanly,” he said. “There were probably two, judging by how much meat was eaten.

“An adult, medium-size big cat, like a leopard or mountain lion, weighs between 60 and 100 kilos, and they can eat about a third of their own weight in a sitting.”

Zoos Victoria spokeswoman Judith Henke said big cat sightings had been reported around Victoria for decades.

“There’s a lot of bush out there, and none of the experts here at the zoo are prepared to say there’s no such thing,” she said.

“Our experts are always willing to look at the evidence, even photos of the carcass, and make an assessment.

“There are lots of sightings, and who knows? One day somebody might bring in the hard evidence.” by Mike Edmonds, “Fears rural lions could snatch kids,” Herald Sun, September 19, 2007.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

12 Responses to “Black Mystery Cats Terrorize Oz”

  1. Bob K. responds:


  2. Ceroill responds:

    Otters in pterodactyl suits escaped from train wrecked traveling circus.

  3. sschaper responds:

    Are these kills consistent with big cat kills? If not, could it be thylacoleo?

  4. folcrom responds:

    Thylacoleo Carnifex has teeth designed to puncture skulls. They were ambush preditors, that ambushed prey from above.

    If they still exist, they’d be a possibility.

    However, don’t forget the old household moggie. Given 4, 5 or 6 generations in the wild, they aren’t your ordinary moggie. A feral cat can grow quite large. They adapt very readily.

    In my younger days I shot one that was easily three times normal size. It was a right nasty piece of work. It thought it was safe sitting in a tree. So melanistic ferals are also possibilities.

    Feral cats kill more native species in Australia than can be counted, they’ve caused many species to become almost extinct, so hunters shoot ferals on sight.

  5. Bob K. responds:

    Folcrom, thank you for your astute observations.

  6. bmillo responds:

    I believe the big cats are there in Australia. There have been too many sightings over too many years to doubt that. Would Australians prefer to capture one of these animals rather than shoot it?

  7. jules responds:

    Very possible. I saw a “home bred” Burmese that looked like a panther. It weighed about 50 lbs.

  8. Alligator responds:

    This one is clearly a guy in suit! lol

    Australia has very strict laws on exporting its wildlife. I wonder how strict they are on imports? This sounds like imports that escaped or were released. The feral cat possibility is intriguing too. I saw one old feral tom that weighed almost 20 pounds and his head was massive. As far a thylacene – what is known of their manner of killing and consuming prey? It’s usually pretty easy to distinguish between a cat and dog (or dog like) kill.

  9. Bexta responds:

    There’s often sightings up where I live in Gippsland. My mother swears black and blue that one ran in front of her car when she was driving home a couple of weeks ago, and she’s not one to lie at all.

  10. Simon Townsend responds:

    I examined the foal in question late in the day it was found, at the invitation of the owner. There was major trauma to the throat and the area between the skull foals skull and the atlas bone. The eyes were forced out of their sockets similiarly to serious road accident victims. If crows had tried this they would have destroyed and eaten the eyeball and this did not happen. Shearing marks were evident on the edges of the remaining skin as though cut with curved edge scissors. Each shear was about 7 or 8 cms long corresponding to the carnassial teeth of the predator in question. All in all a very neat and tidy job. I have noted many roos and sheep cleaned up in a similar way over the years.

  11. snappy responds:

    There’s no doubt in my mind about big cats in Victoria Australia.
    Having lived in the Yarra Valley / Dandenong Ranges area for 30 years
    Iv’e heard numerous stories from many farmers and being lucky enough to see a big black cat standing on the road in Mt Dandenong and when our car approached it jumped at least 10metres over the road and up an embankment. (witnessed by 3 of us) as soon as we saw it we looked at each other and said “Well, there you go, There IS big cats” I’ve been fishing these areas all my life and no feral cat is that big (and Ive seen some big scary feral mogies)

  12. Rods responds:

    They are out there, and in this area. I was out testing a new setup in my hilux 4×4 about three years ago on the tracks around Anglesea, and pulled up short of a water crossing as a friend and I discussed if we wanted to risk getting stuck with only the one car and no recovery gear onboard. We were less than 10 metres away and just idiling along in low first when a very large black cat shot out of the bush on one side of the track, flicked around 180 and took off back into the bush. It seemed to me that it had been drinking and we had suprised it. The body would have been over 1 metre in length and the tail about the same again covered in thick, jet black fur and curved up at the end. I spend a lot of my spare time on nature photography and know the animals in this area very well, and both of us have a science background and were sure of what we saw. I had heard many stories over the years about there existance and figured they must have been out there somewhere but never really given it a second thought. What suprised me about this was how close to town it was. I always carry my nikon with a pro 300mm lens mounted and ready to shoot when I head out now but that was the only sighting to date.

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