black cougars in west-central Texas?


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texastele
October 31, 2012, 12:20 AM
I live in west-central and Texas and am out in the pasture quite a bit. I have seen a black cougar/panther/whatever you want to call it twice in the last two years. I have found big cat tracks 3-4 inches tall several times this year where I have my animals. The tracks were within about a hundred yards of where I saw one last year. The other sighting was on another guy's place where I was working about 8 miles south of the tracks and the other sighting. I was curious if any of you guys have ever seen a black panther in west-central Texas. This is interesting to me because the tpwd and many of the guys that I was a field biologist (mammalogist) with will tell you that there are no black panthers out here. There are regular cougars, but they will hoorah you up and down that there are no black ones. All of the ranchers out here have game cameras but no one has ever got a picture of a black one. Of course, nobody that I have talked to has gotten a picture of a regular one, either. And actually, none of the cowboys, biologists, or hunters I know have ever seen a black one. So, I know that I am not that much more of a field guy than anyone else, or out in the pasture that much more than everybody else, but I can't figure out why I appear to be one of the few that has seen this thing. Now I have two statements to fend off potential questions. Yes, I know how to cut sign and, yes, I know the difference in cougar/bobcat/big dog tracks. Yes, I also know what cougars look like. Also, if you type in the google search terms 'black cougars' or 'black panthers' you get a whole variety of results that don't have anything to do with animals. Thanks.

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tarosean
October 31, 2012, 03:01 AM
you that there are no black panthers out here. There are regular cougars, but they will hoorah you up and down that there are no black ones.

Cause its true....There is no scientific evidence to prove otherwise..

However, Texas has some the largest Exotic Animal Population in the US. I lived within 4 miles of Lions (African and Mountain) and Tigers.
So it could be an escapee or someone turned an exotic loose. There are also Jaguarundi in TX that can be black but more so the size of bobcats.

All of the ranchers out here have game cameras but no one has ever got a picture of a black one.

Its like bigfoot. Lots of stories and hearsay.. However when a picture does show up is grainy/poor and you cannot tell what the heck it is... LOL

Bobson
October 31, 2012, 04:00 AM
However, Texas has some the largest Exotic Animal Population in the US. I lived within 4 miles of Lions (African and Mountain) and Tigers.
Wait, what? You're saying there are wild tigers and African lions in Texas? And black panthers, apparently?

Kitika
October 31, 2012, 05:27 AM
We have a mysterious Black Panther here in Australia too. There has been multiple attacks on livestock all over Australia but no one has been able to get definite proof other than pictures of tracks left in sand. If i'm ever out in the bush alone I make sure I got some form of protection as I've seen a very large black cat around our place.

1911 guy
October 31, 2012, 08:24 AM
I'm very interested in the whole "large black cat" thing. When I was a kid and spent a lot of summers in W.Va. and Ky., the old timers were always talking and warning us about black cats. No, not the unlucky kind.

There have been numerous reports and photos. Admittedly, a lot of the photos come up short on quality or are later proven to be housecats and people misjudged the distance. A couple, however, have endured.

It puzzles me, too, why wildlife officials would go to such lenghts to dispute the existence of these animals despite A) so many reports B) a few photos that do show large black cats C) the known existence of melanistic (I think that's the correct term) large cats. Think tigers, lions, etc.

Keep in mind, too, that you are in the now expanded range of the jaguar which has a very well known and seemingly higher than average melanistic variation.

alsaqr
October 31, 2012, 09:16 AM
Oklahoma has very lax laws pertaining to the possession of big dangerous cats. Several years ago a nurse in Garvin county was coming home from work at about 2:00 a.m. When she stopped at a stop sign a black leopard put its paws on her hood and hissed.

jdh
October 31, 2012, 11:02 AM
There was a picture posted of a pair of large very dark long tailed cats crossing a road between Bastrop and Buescher state parks last year. The link I booked marked seems to be broken now.

Patocazador
October 31, 2012, 11:10 AM
There are tons of 'black panther' sightings here in Florida. I believe it is because our panthers have a reddish tone with black hair tips. When viewed under certain light and angles, they appear to be very dark or black, especially when quartering away from you.

So far no pumas, cougars, etc. have been confirmed in Florida as being black colored or melanistic. We do have occasional escapes of black leopards and black jaguars from our numerous exotic cat attractions.

tarosean
October 31, 2012, 11:40 AM
Wait, what? You're saying there are wild tigers and African lions in Texas? And black panthers, apparently?

if you consider caged or high fenced "wild".

tarosean
October 31, 2012, 02:04 PM
C) the known existence of melanistic (I think that's the correct term) large cats. Think tigers, lions, etc.

Cause the melanistic phase occurs in spotted felines.. Leopards, jaguars, bobcats, etc

heeler
October 31, 2012, 02:25 PM
I hunted on a very large and remote ranch in northern Uvalde county Texas in the 1970's and two of our hunters that I belived then and would do so today saw a black cougar.
In fact my brother and I found a small cave with the skulls and bones of several Angora goats very near one of the sighting areas.
I will also say both of these sightings were in the late afternoon,not dark, but getting late.

adelbridge
October 31, 2012, 02:43 PM
Wait, what? You're saying there are wild tigers and African lions in Texas? And black panthers, apparently?
if you consider caged or high fenced "wild". some of these ranches are 1500+ acres of high fence to maintain and all kinds of stuff is getting loose. We have a large population of Axis deer that have adapted to the hill country.

Cycletroll
October 31, 2012, 07:00 PM
Jaguarundi

Sky
October 31, 2012, 07:22 PM
Well the one around here is not black but he/she has certainly taken care of the feral hogs..they have all disappeared in our hunting A.O. in South Tx.

rcmodel
October 31, 2012, 07:24 PM
There were no Cougars in Kansas either according to KF&G.
Even though I and others had seem them.

Finally, they kept getting run over in numbers too large to ignore.

Now KF&G says there "might" be a few, maybe.

So if you saw a big black cat in Texas twice, yes you have them, despite what the field biologist says.

Probably young toms looking for mates after getting run out of Mexico by old toms.

rc

splattergun
November 1, 2012, 07:35 PM
A black cougar is not out of the question. It's a rare color phase. Rare, yes, but not unheard of. Just because the DWR hasn't or won't document any doesn't mean they can't exist.

There are other possible large cats that can go black, too. The exotics mentioned previously, as well as the jaguar, which once roamed as far as western Texas. Jaguars are still sighted in Arizona once in a blue moon.

Double Naught Spy
November 2, 2012, 12:57 PM
Rare but not out of the question? By so rare, you mean "no known physical examples exist"?

It isn't a DWR issue, but one of science. There is no coverup, conspiracy, or dereliction of duty.

JERRY
November 2, 2012, 01:21 PM
i dont know what it was now that ive read all this stuff, but in drew/bradley counties near the saline river in southeast arkansas i saw a "puma" while out hunting...actually i only heard the growl yell like sound and saw the hind end and tail as it ran into a thicket (i was in a deer stand with my four wheeler parked at the base).

i told the guys back at camp what i saw and heard, fearing they would laugh at me but instead they looked at each other and said i told you so......they said theyd seen it too and told the DNR guy who comes around to check deer tags at the camp, he summarily denied the existance of pumas in arkansas.....that was in 2007.

Patocazador
November 2, 2012, 02:31 PM
If they verify a breeding population of cougars, pumas, painters, panthers, etc. in a state where they have been extinct, they have to curtail deer hunting and other activities in that area to allow them to re-establish the population. Then you have the same bureaucratic mess as exists with wolves and grizzlies.
Believe me, you don't want them to verify your sightings if you're a hunter. Just pretend you were drunk.

Double Naught Spy
November 2, 2012, 03:49 PM
If they verify a breeding population of cougars, pumas, painters, panthers, etc. in a state where they have been extinct, they have to curtail deer hunting and other activities in that area to allow them to re-establish the population. Then you have the same bureaucratic mess as exists with wolves and grizzlies.

Uh no, not true.

bad375
November 2, 2012, 04:32 PM
I have personally seen 2 large black cats, that I would have called cougars. One in San Saba county early December of 1992, the other in East Texas in Smith county in March 1998. Wasn't that surprised to see the one in San Saba but the one in Smith county where I live was a huge shock.

Patocazador
November 2, 2012, 09:03 PM
Uh no, not true.
That's what they did in SW Florida. They curtailed deer hunting so there would be more for the panthers.

splattergun
November 2, 2012, 09:20 PM
oh well

Mango88
November 2, 2012, 09:26 PM
Distribution in Texas
The jaguar inhabits the dense chaparral and timbered sections of the New World tropics and seldom ventures into the high, cooler inland areas. Apparently, it was once fairly common over southern Texas and nearly the whole of the eastern part of the state to Louisiana and north to the Red River.

Jaguars still venture north out of Mexico and are occasionally seen in Texas but the state wildlife people aren't interested in publicizing it.

MCgunner
November 2, 2012, 10:52 PM
Mountain lions are in a lot of places in Texas that few would think possible. They've been seen along the mid Texas coast, all over south Texas and, OF COURSE, west Texas. I didn't say there were a lot of 'em in some of those places, but south and west Texas has a good number.

tarosean
November 3, 2012, 12:16 AM
It isn't a DWR issue, but one of science. There is no coverup, conspiracy, or dereliction of duty.


This...

Double Naught Spy
November 3, 2012, 08:49 AM
That's what they did in SW Florida. They curtailed deer hunting so there would be more for the panthers.

You misrepresented the issue and your Florida example does as well. You said...

If they verify a breeding population of cougars, pumas, painters, panthers, etc. in a state where they have been extinct, they have to curtail deer hunting and other activities in that area to allow them to re-establish the population.

The Florida panther wasn't discovered as a breeding population thought to be extinct from the state. Its population decline has been documented and hunting curtailed on it in 1958 and later got CITES protection in the 1970s in order to keep this particular subspecies from going completely extinct (not just extirpated from Florida).
http://www.fpl.com/environment/endangered/pdf/panther.pdf
http://www.fws.gov/verobeach/MammalsPDFs/FinalizedFloridaPantherRecoveryPlan081218.pdf

So no, just because a breeding population of carnivore might happen to be rediscovered where once it was extirpated does not mean the state will enact hunting restrictions on deer. The matter isn't one of geography, but one of species protection as noted with your Florida panther example.

That

ambidextrous1
November 3, 2012, 10:10 AM
About 7 years ago, I saw a 'large black cat' skulking through the arroyo adjacent to my house in El Paso.

I watched him, fascinated, for about five minutes, until he became concealed in the bushes. About that time, I realized it would be a good idea to photograph him...:mad:

I have discussed that sighting with quite a few locals, and their response leads me to believe that 'large black cats' are exceeding rare in El Paso.

Art Eatman
November 3, 2012, 10:54 AM
Over the last thirty or so years, there have been a fair number of sightings of "black panthers" in southern Brewster County. All of them well south of Alpine and mostly at night. Reasonably reliable observers who lived in the area.

I've always figured that it was high melanin count, with reality being more of a very dark brown than actual "black as coal".

I missed a shot on a big cat, years ago, that was very much like a Sealpoint Siamese in coloring. The paws, ears and tail were a real brown, while the body was the usual tawny color.

I guess I'd call it, "Uncommon, but certainly not unknown."

CharlieDeltaJuliet
November 3, 2012, 10:58 AM
I live in NC, I have seen a mountain lion (black as could be,but still had a shade darker spots). Evidently science will say it is a one in ten million mutation, but too many others over the years have seen the same.

Patocazador
November 3, 2012, 08:33 PM
You misrepresented the issue and your Florida example does as well. You said...



The Florida panther wasn't discovered as a breeding population thought to be extinct from the state. Its population decline has been documented and hunting curtailed on it in 1958 and later got CITES protection in the 1970s in order to keep this particular subspecies from going completely extinct (not just extirpated from Florida).
http://www.fpl.com/environment/endangered/pdf/panther.pdf
http://www.fws.gov/verobeach/MammalsPDFs/FinalizedFloridaPantherRecoveryPlan081218.pdf

So no, just because a breeding population of carnivore might happen to be rediscovered where once it was extirpated does not mean the state will enact hunting restrictions on deer. The matter isn't one of geography, but one of species protection as noted with your Florida panther example.

That
You're correct that "they don't have to restrict hunting" but wait and see what happens when a breeding population is discovered in a state where they used to exist. Therefore I change my original quote from "have to" to "will" ... and I stand behind that statement.

Double Naught Spy
November 3, 2012, 08:55 PM
I live in NC, I have seen a mountain lion (black as could be,but still had a shade darker spots). Evidently science will say it is a one in ten million mutation, but too many others over the years have seen the same.

And yet no hunter has ever recovered one and none are known from zoos, museums, or natural history collections. Apparently, black panthers are being raised by bigfoots which are also seen all over the country with regularity, but also mysteriously with no known physical specimens existing.

shiftyer1
November 3, 2012, 09:07 PM
I've never seen one but i've heard alot of stories, some from people I believe trustworthy. It seems whenever someone mentions a big cat of any color in an area people are slow to believe them.

A few years back I was finding tracks pretty regular but folks looked at me like I was nuts, then I found a doe in a tree. Dang coyotes are getting talented;)

DammitBoy
November 3, 2012, 09:13 PM
http://texascryptidhunter.blogspot.com/2012/02/black-panther-photographed-in-texas.html

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-5rCZoYXOB1M/Tzx0euYLFmI/AAAAAAAAB6I/kUhgUrcQhK8/s1600/black%2Bcat.jpg

Bigfoot's cat...

CharlieDeltaJuliet
November 3, 2012, 09:37 PM
Well, I am not saying Panther.. I saw a mountain lion( had spots) that was black. I have seen two of these. One in the wild and one in captivity.

JohnKSa
November 4, 2012, 01:17 AM
I saw a mountain lion( had spots)Mountain lions don't have spots except when they are very young cubs.Bigfoot's cat...Did you read the article that accompanied the picture? It includes the analysis and opinion of "an accomplished outdoors writer and naturalist" as to what is seen in the picture.

Some excerpts from the article.

http://texascryptidhunter.blogspot.com/2012/02/black-panther-photographed-in-texas.html

From the author:
"As has been discussed here before, officially, black panthers do not exist. Science tells us that there is simply no such animal. It is true that other big cats occasionally exhibit melanism but they do not make their homes in North America.
...
I think the animal in the photo is most likely a jaguarundi."


From the expert:
The animal in the photo is definitely a cat and it looks the closest to a jaguarundi of any known species. It is definitely not a jaguar (no spot pattern found on the coat. Messed with it in photo shop and you could pull some spots by messing with contrast and lighting and none show) or a cougar. The body position and short legs point to jaguarundi along with the dark color.

The cat looks a little fat to me which is what threw me off. Cougar and jags are both muscular but this cat is not. Jaguarundis are not a muscular cat and after reviewing a photo of a pregnant jaguarundi it looks like that might be the case. There are definitely jaguarundis in the Hill Country despite what officials say and this is the time of year many of our predators are pregnant."

CharlieDeltaJuliet
November 4, 2012, 01:46 AM
The one I saw in captivity was less than two months old, the other not sure. But I do disagree about the spots. They have them, they are just faint. My brother has one mounted and the spots are just a tad darker of a golden color than the base fur.

JohnKSa
November 4, 2012, 01:14 AM
Bottom line is that if you know where there is a black, spotted mountain lion in captivity, you are in possession of information that any naturalist in America would be extremely interested in, to say the least.

Contact someone (maybe the naturalist who contributed to the article in the link from my last post) and give them the information. Just remember to ask them to provide you with the results of their analysis so you can post it here to prove that you've done what no scientist/naturalist in America could do by locating a melanistic mountain lion.

Double Naught Spy
November 4, 2012, 08:52 AM
Bigfoot's cat...

LOL, it is a B&W photo taken via the IR setting of a game camera. The camera is improperly aimed and too close to the feeder, producing an extreme hot spot by the IR flash (or maybe external light), thereby making everything outside of the hotspot look darker than it should. Notice how the feeder legs all appear to be different shades, the leg closest to the animal being darketst.

You just can't say the animal is black from this image. Sorry, but but you another one of those equivocal images and as noted, not identified as a mountain lion (Thanks John!). Furthermore, who here has a species ID key based on animal butts?

Equivocal images are not proof. There are still no actual, tangible specimens despite the countless claims, like Bigfoot, chupacabra, Jersey Devil, etc.

Here is a very nice discussion. I like how the lady notes the commonality of black panther sightings in Florida where they only have about 100 known mountain lions (none black), and that folks have suggested that the black cats may be other Panthera species possibly escaped from zoos and such, but nobody sees the normal colored ones, just the rare black ones. Ever wonder why the rare stuff is so common?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6przuR7ITfY&feature=related

lynntelk
November 5, 2012, 08:54 PM
To answer the original question, yes I have seen the animal in question in the area you have asked about. I live in the Midland/Odessa area. There is a small population of the black jaguar close to this area. I was going to a location in the oilfield about 30 minutes after sunrise when I saw one ~30 yards off the edge of the road. The cat stopped on the road to look at me for ~2-3 seconds, then ran off. I told the foreman on location what I had seen. He worked in the area for many years. He said they have been sighted many times by numberous individuals. I have talked to other ranchers in the area that have also seen the same black jaguars.

Double Naught Spy
November 5, 2012, 09:15 PM
That's great! Not only have jaguar not been documented in Texas since around 1900 or so, but you know of a population of particularly unique black jaguars in the Midland/Odessa area. That is quite phenomenal!

CharlieDeltaJuliet
November 6, 2012, 06:23 AM
I was thinking that Mexico had a population of Jaguars( not sure about color) and they were within range of populating Texas. I think I had seen this on Discovery Channel, not really sure. I may be completely wrong about it though.

Double Naught Spy
November 6, 2012, 08:43 AM
Mango88, yes, Mexico has them. Some have moved back into Arizona. There haven't been any confirmed sightings or takings of them in Texas since the early 1900s. That they would show up and show up as black for the first time in the middle of Texas, well away from Mexico, and show up as black and only black after a century or so is highly unlikely.

JERRY
November 6, 2012, 08:49 AM
the cat i saw in s.e. arkansas was tan or tauney...the usual puma color....

can anybody in that area tell me if there have been conformed killings or photos of one?

lynntelk
November 6, 2012, 01:26 PM
Since Texastele started this post I would be interested in hearing how far of a distance from the Midland/Odessa area to where he has witnessed the sighting. He requested info for Central West Texas. Central West Texas covers a lot of area in this part of the country.

TexasPatriot.308
November 9, 2012, 01:32 AM
Friday afternoon before opening day, broad daylight about 2pm my hunting buddy pointed out a large black cat near a feeder, we see several feral cats during the year so we kind of talked about it for a while, some hogs came in and the cat ran off, definitely large tail, we walked down to feeder where cat was, the weeds were up to and over our knees, the cats back was definitely over the weeds. wished one of us would have shot it. in this part of central Texas we got lots of cougars and reports of black cats are regular. they are here.

Davek1977
November 9, 2012, 05:00 AM
"They're here" "I SAW one" "They're real...I saw one in captivity" "Lokk at this poorly lit picture...its a black panther, I swear!" What does every one of these claims lack? Tangible proof, making them every bit as "documented" as Bigfoot. While I don't doubt that many people BELIEVE they have seen such a critter, the utter total and complete lack of supporting evidence doesn't lend much credence to the claims. Hundreds, if not thousands, of sightings over the years, and not one carcass or pelt to be found anywhere? No documentation, no verifieable photos, no nothing? Yet...we're just supposed to take it on faith and a few people's words that they exist? I'm not always a skeptic, but without something to lend some basis to these claims other than the word of my fellow man, I have a hard time buying into it

CharlieDeltaJuliet
November 9, 2012, 09:05 AM
According to wiki "The jaguar's present range extends from Southern United States and Mexico across much of Central America and south to Paraguay and northern Argentina. Apart from a known and possibly breeding population in Arizona (southeast of Tucson), the cat has largelybeen extirpated from the United States since the early 20th century." It is possible that these are what people are seeing. If they are really that rare then I understand why they are not seen. I have lived in mountain areas (NC) for most of my life and have only seen 7-10 big cats in the wild. This is including bobcats. My area is one of the most rural of NC. When in Texas this was 3 of the accounts of big cats. But melanism is rare but is in EVERY species of animal, so I am not going to call someone a liar, when what they seen is possible, and documented in all other species.

I know most have seen melanism, but for those that haven't here are some photos of melanistic animals. http://twistedsifter.com/2012/02/10-incredible-melanistc-all-black-animals/

Art Eatman
November 9, 2012, 09:35 AM
Davek1977, I've seen several cougars through the years, and beaucoup tracks around my house. But I'm in SW Texas, not in west central Texas.

As far as color, I know the reliability of the several people in the Terlingua area who have reported "black" panthers, although in discussion they agreed that the color could have been a very dark brown. Two night-time sightings at household trash pits; only one in daylight. Odds are that it was the same one cougar, based on timing and locations.

As far as cougars in general and the "We don't have any, here.": They are definitely travellers. Texas Parks & Wildlife released a radio-collared young male from the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area south of Marathon some sixty miles. It was killed in a rancher's sheep pen, two nights later--seventy miles north of Black Gap.

A friend of mine does contract flying of radio-mounted critters. Eagles, peregrine falcons, cougars. One cougar regularly travelled from the Glass Mountains north of Marathon, south to the southern end of the Del Carmen range in Mexico. Some 200 miles, one way, plus crossing the Rio Grande.

Carl N. Brown
November 9, 2012, 09:58 AM
In Tennessee in the 1950s and 1960s it was common to hear older people talk about being stalked by black panthers back in the 1920s or 1930s. But no recent reports. We do have large wild cats, reports of lynx, and in the long past a small population (sustainable, resident) of cougar in the Smokey Mountains (a few generation back I think). Whether the cougars were black or not, you have to remember that the credible "stalked by a black panther" story I heard was stalked at night, and as Ben Franklin pointed out, "In the dark all cats are grey".

But then if you told me thirty years ago, that coyotes would be a problem in Tennessee, I would have laughed and demand that you show me a carcass. Now they're a major threat to livestock. So I am reluctant to diss all "big black cat" reports, but will withhold judgement until there is positive proof. It is easy though to have a false but honestly mistaken sighting.

T.R.
November 9, 2012, 12:01 PM
We have black panthers in Philadelphia.

TR

788Ham
November 9, 2012, 12:15 PM
My buddie's son, is a wildlife biologist for the state of Arizona, lives in Alpine. His studies are in the Red Wolf population in that area. This biologist has seen many jaguars in his treks around this area, many meaning 6 or 7 over the past year. Nothing new to this area, being this close to the Mexican border.

Patocazador
November 9, 2012, 01:13 PM
According to wiki "The jaguar's present range extends from Southern United States and Mexico across much of Central America and south to Paraguay and northern Argentina. Apart from a known and possibly breeding population in Arizona (southeast of Tucson), the cat has largelybeen extirpated from the United States since the early 20th century." It is possible that these are what people are seeing. If they are really that rare then I understand why they are not seen. I have lived in mountain areas (NC) for most of my life and have only seen 7-10 big cats in the wild. This is including bobcats. My area is one of the most rural of NC. When in Texas this was 3 of the accounts of big cats. But melanism is rare but is in EVERY species of animal, so I am not going to call someone a liar, when what they seen is possible, and documented in all other species.

I know most have seen melanism, but for those that haven't here are some photos of melanistic animals. http://twistedsifter.com/2012/02/10-incredible-melanistc-all-black-animals/
I have seen a black (melanistic) jaguar that didn't have any tawny or yellow hair at all. It was in captivity at a rare feline breeding center 2 miles from my house. The breeder obtained two black jaguars and bred them producing many black cubs. On the one I saw, the spot (rosette) pattern could be made out easily in the sunlight. Since it was all black, I surmised that the rosette hairs grew at a different angle or were a different texture from the other hair.

Double Naught Spy
November 9, 2012, 01:22 PM
There is no red wolf population in Arizona. Why do so many folks west and northwest of Texas think they have red wolves? Canis rufus or Canis lupus rufus (depending on classification) had its historical range in the eastern USA. The southwestern boundary was the middle of Texas.

http://www.outer-banks.com/alligator-river/redwolf.asp
http://www.nsrl.ttu.edu/tmot1/canirufu.htm

Davek1977
November 9, 2012, 03:34 PM
I never said that cougars weren't a possibility in Texas, just that the complete and utter lack of evidence of "black panthers" make me doubt they exist despite the claims and so-called "sightings" When someone has tangible proof instead of mere hearsay, I'll be willing to admit I was wrong. Until such a time that their existence is proven, I'll continue to harbor my doubts.

JohnKSa
November 9, 2012, 09:08 PM
According to wiki "The jaguar's present range extends from Southern United States and Mexico across much of Central America and south to Paraguay and northern Argentina. Apart from a known and possibly breeding population in Arizona (southeast of Tucson), the cat has largelybeen extirpated from the United States since the early 20th century."
...
But melanism is rare...Yes, it is rare. That's a big part of the problem.

It's hard enough to believe that jaguars are back in TX after not being spotted here for over 100 years.

To say that not only are they back, but also that no one, in this age of game cameras and video phones has been able to document that return AND that the only ones that have been spotted are the rarest kind is a real stretch.But melanism is rare but is in EVERY species of animal, so I am not going to call someone a liar, when what they seen is possible, and documented in all other species.I'll say it again. If you have information that melanism exists in cougars, you are in possession of information that any naturalist in the U.S. would be very interested to know about.

http://www.fws.gov/floridapanther/panther_faq.html

"There is no species of "black panther." The large black cats seen in zoos or used by media outlets are usually either the black (or melanistic) phase of jaguars or leopards. Some species of wild felines, especially those that are spotted as adults (including bobcats) have melanistic or black color phases. This color phase is unusual. However, there has never been a black or melanistic panther, cougar, or mountain lion documented in the wild or in captivity."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cougar

"Despite anecdotes to the contrary, all-black coloring (melanism) has never been documented in cougars."

http://newsandtribune.com/archive/x518725619

"“Never in the history of the United States has there ever been, in captivity or in the wild, a documented black mountain lion..."

Art Eatman
November 9, 2012, 09:37 PM
One reason I'm willing to believe in melanism in cougars--dark brown, not black--is the one I missed when I shot low. As I've said, much like a seal-point Siamese house cat: Dark mask and paws, and his tail was more brown than the tan/tawny of his body. Still daylight, and it was about 50 or 60 yards at 4X. I guessed his body weight at around 120 to 140. He was bigger than other cougars I'd seen.

texastele
November 10, 2012, 12:42 AM
All of the discussion is very interesting. I have been busy with work and hadn't gotten on in several days. On a previous post a gentleman from Midland wanted to know where I was located and where I had seen the animal. I live in San Angelo. The tracks with the one sighting were at the lease between Knickerbocker and Tankersley. The lone sighting was at Tankersley, such as it is. (It is just a big ranch now. Not a town.)

Double Naught Spy
November 10, 2012, 08:48 AM
One reason I'm willing to believe in melanism in cougars--dark brown, not black--is the one I missed when I shot low.

Well they can be dark brown. That is within the normal variation of the mountain lion, though not common. Based on known evidence and considerable study, documentation, hunting, collection, and exhibition of mountain lions going back more than 200 years in North America if not longer, black mountain lions do not exist.

So that is what makes the black panther claims so bizarre. Even if just dark brown which is rare amongst a rarely species, people see black panthers everywhere, it seems. In Florida, they are spotted more commonly than the Florida Panther by the public. Even more interesting are the sightings in low light when when they would be less apt to stand out.

Apparently like the Christian-based bumper sticker says...

Sometimes you must believe before you can see.

These seems to hold true for many types of purported cryptids that are spotted in relatively high frequency, have claims of regular spottings, have plenty of notoriety, but yet cease to have verified documentation like bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, chupacabras, Champ, etc. The black panther is another such creature.

JERRY
November 10, 2012, 09:24 AM
Wasnt there some black panther/puma/cougar/mountain lion found in the everglades...the florida "panther" group?

Art Eatman
November 10, 2012, 09:39 AM
Just opinion about people, but I can see where a night-time sighting would have dark brown being talked about as "black". And, for daytime, odds are that there is a propensity to holler, "Black!" even though it's actually a dark brown. Doesn't seem worth arguing about, really.

Coal black? I'd have to see it dead on the ground to believe it. :D

JERRY
November 10, 2012, 09:58 AM
they had (still have?) a black (panther) jaguar at the montgomery zoo in alabama.

lynntelk
November 10, 2012, 11:16 AM
Texastele
The sighting I had was south of the Midland/Odessa area. The rancher that I talked with was from around the Garden City area. He and several of his family and employees had seen the seen the black ...... fill in the blank as to what you want to call it. Garden City to San Angelo is not very far. South of Midland/Odessa is not too far for Garden City or San Angelo. Kind of interesting for something that does not exist.

Patocazador
November 10, 2012, 01:21 PM
Wasnt there some black panther/puma/cougar/mountain lion found in the everglades...the florida "panther" group?
If you've ever seen a Florida panther, they have black tips on their hair ends. Also the coat is a dark reddish color - not tan. When you look at one quartering away from you they look dark and 'shimmery'. If you see them quartering toward you, they look red ... like a sorrel horse.
This is a description of captive panthers. I have never seen a panther or a cougar in the wild. Wild ones might be darker because they are dirty and wet. The Everglades are quite damp. :D

Double Naught Spy
November 10, 2012, 04:18 PM
Here you go, Art!
http://texascryptidhunter.blogspot.com/2011/01/cougar-of-sierra-blanca.html
A nice darker brown mountain lion reported to be from Hudspeth County NW of you. First image with the human's face blotted out.

Flintknapper
November 10, 2012, 05:45 PM
http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n92/flintknapper/BlackPuma.jpg


Quote:

“ A VERY dark colored cougar. Due to the black and white nature of the photograph it is impossible to tell if the animal is truly black or just very dark brown. Either way it is an unusually dark specimen.”


^^^^^^^^^^
Ummmmm…………NO!

It is NOT “truly black” and probably NOT “very dark brown” either.

What it IS……is an animal photographed in black and white with very strong ‘shadowing’….due the brightness and angle of the sun.

OTHERWISE….we would have to attribute the same pigmentation to the underside of the young man’s hat, the right side of his face and neck, the inside of his left arm and outside of his right.

The portion of cat in the bright sunlight is consistent what you would expect, the other is a shadow.

Come on folks. :(

Double Naught Spy
November 10, 2012, 07:14 PM
I don't think any of us folks were claiming that picture to be black or a dark brown cat. So you are writing to the cryptid folks who posted it?

jimmyraythomason
November 10, 2012, 07:29 PM
I don't know or care if there are or ever were black cougars but I DO know for a fact that there are large(larger than house cat)wild black cats with very long tails because I have seen one first hand(as reported here on THR). I trapped a very large cat in the '80s that was NOT a house cat. It was very heavy,very angry,had a tail longer than it's body. It was not black but spotted in places like a bobcat,had ear tufts and longer cheek fur. Large long tailed wildcats exist in spite off the naysayers. Lack of physical evidence proving their existence is not proof of their non-existence.

JohnKSa
November 10, 2012, 09:53 PM
I DO know for a fact that there are large(larger than house cat)wild black cats with very long tails because I have seen one first hand(as reported here on THR).Do a search on jaguarundi.

Flintknapper
November 10, 2012, 10:04 PM
I don't think any of us folks were claiming that picture to be black or a dark brown cat. So you are writing to the cryptid folks who posted it?


Yes!

But it applies to any others that are going to have their "black panther" one way or another, as well.

Common sense needs to prevail.

Look at the numbers of reports all across the U.S. (hundreds..in nearly every State).

"Common Sense" dictates:

1. Folks are indeed seeing SOMETHING black (or dark) but its NOT a panther.

2. Black panthers are common enough to have a breeding population (since they are sighted nearly everywhere) BUT...they somehow remain invisible to game cameras and their carcasses evaporate upon death.

3. They really do exist, are exceedingly rare...but travel like the dickens!

My position concerning Black Panthers and Bigfoot is: Just show me one, just one!

I understand the attraction to the 'folklore', but that's all it is.

Example: When we pick Dew-Berries...my Mother-in-Law continues to insist that the foam you find on various plants and vines is "Snake Spit" and cautions everyone to be careful.

She was told that as a child will NOT accept that what she is actually seeing is a spittlebug/froghopper:

http://www.everythingabout.net/articles/biology/animals/arthropods/insects/spittlebug/

And I'm not talking about clinging to fond childhood memories and folklore, I mean she literally refuses to believe that it is anything but "Snake Spit".

These things "die hard" if at all.

jimmyraythomason
November 10, 2012, 10:06 PM
Do a search on jaguarundi.
Yes I know about Jaguarundi. I first heard of them about 30 years ago,however,I doubt that the average person has heard of them(at least in my state). Many big cat sightings may well be attributed to these cats. ALL long tailed wildcats in my area are called "panthers" so when some-one says they have seen a panther,folks automatically assume cougar(especially if they don't know about the jaguarundi). We have several cougar here in my area(normal color phase)even though the "authorities deny it and even refuse to investigate any reports of sightings. The classic response is "mis-identification" and the reports aren't given any credence. On top of that,the person reporting a sighting is subjected to public ridicule. Folks now tend to keep such sightings to themselves and maybe a neighbor or two.

Wes Mantooth
November 10, 2012, 10:23 PM
Chupacabra.

Up from Mexico. Pesky little devils.;)

Flintknapper
November 10, 2012, 11:48 PM
^^^^^^^^^

Especially the black ones. ;)

jimmyraythomason
November 10, 2012, 11:58 PM
^^^^^^On top of that,the person reporting a sighting is subjected to public ridicule. Gee...I'm glad THAT doesn't happen on THR!

allaroundhunter
November 11, 2012, 12:27 AM
Where in "West-Central Texas" are we talking about here? Out west of Ft. Worth about 2 hours my family has land and within the last 6 months we have seen 2 cougars (or the same one twice), but neither have been black. However, we were told that it is rare to have a cougar in the area....

Sent from my HTC One X

Flintknapper
November 11, 2012, 03:27 AM
We have several cougar here in my area(normal color phase)even though the "authorities deny it and even refuse to investigate any reports of sightings. The classic response is "mis-identification" and the reports aren't given any credence.

I have NO doubt that there are now (or were) cougar...present in your area. Also, any Wildlife agency in any Southern State...KNOWS cougars are there, they just don't want to promote it....and for good reason. They already have their hands full doing other things and "mis-indentification" IS a real (and time consuming) problem for them. Much easier to deny it than to authenticate the 'few' real sightings.



On top of that,the person reporting a sighting is subjected to public ridicule. Folks now tend to keep such sightings to themselves and maybe a neighbor or two.
Are you saying the Wildlife agencies are publicly ridiculing those who report sightings...or that the public is doing so? If the Wildlife depts are doing so...then they lack professionalism, if the public....well you just take your chances.

Yes, there are real sightings of (normal colored) cougars all throughout the South, but you have to admit MANY other times...its a case of someone not knowing what they are talking about. Just strike up a conversation about it (almost anywhere) and you'll be hard pressed to find someone who HASN'T seen a cougar or knows someone who has.

People are all too eager these days for some sensationalism. Too bad, because all the false claims (and they are many)...detracts from those who HAVE actually seen a big cat. That is what the game departments are dealing with.

Davek1977
November 11, 2012, 05:51 AM
Lack of physical evidence proving their existence is not proof of their non-existence You're right, which puts black cougars solidly in the realm of aliens, ghosts, Nessie, Yeti, chubacabras, werewolves, vampires, and other things that people have claimed to have encountered, yet have absolutely no proof of. A lack of evidence doesn't disprove their existence....but tangible evidence would lend a LOT of credence to such claims when the claims themselves seem doubtful. You're entirely right, I cannot "disprove" the existance of such creatures, but, to be fair, no one has proven them accurate either, despite probably thousands of claims. Threee hundred hundred million firearms in the US...thousands of sightings, many by people who were armed apparently.....and not a single carcass, pelt, or anything else that supports the claim? Again, I'm skeptical, and all the hearsay in the world...without evidence to support it...does little to convince me of their existence. Someone has GOT to come up with something more convincing than "my neighbor's cousin's grandma saw one once" or even "I saw one once, sure wish I'd have taken a shot at it while we were watching it" before I entertain the idea.....then again, these mythical creatures are probably bulletproof and immortal, making it even harder to prove they are "real".

jimmyraythomason
November 11, 2012, 08:17 AM
Are you saying the Wildlife agencies are publicly ridiculing those who report sightings...or that the public is doing soYes,it was done in our local paper. "I saw one once, sure wish I'd have taken a shot at it while we were watching it" Killing one would likely get you the wrong kind of attention as most non-game animals are protected by law(at least they are here). The likelyhood of prosecution is extremely high. Back in the 1970s,we had a LOT of black bear sightings that were all attributed to "mis-idendification". I personally knew and talked to a lady who's dog treed one in her front yard. She stopped talking about it because so many made fun of her....until a Chandler Mountain beekeeper killed it. He narrowly avoided prosecution. The mis-identified,non-existant black bear is now mounted and on display in the Chandler Mountain Community Center.

jimmyraythomason
November 11, 2012, 08:29 AM
these mythical creatures It is a proven fact that black jaguarundi exist(which I am convinced is what folks are seeing,in my area,including me)yet no-one has killed one of those either.

Double Naught Spy
November 11, 2012, 08:31 AM
On top of that,the person reporting a sighting is subjected to public ridicule. Folks now tend to keep such sightings to themselves and maybe a neighbor or two.

With more than 200 year of scientific collections being made and nearly 400 years in some areas of the US, you think public ridicule has kept people from displaying or documenting the mythical black mountain lions?

Yes,it was done in our local paper.
So by ridicule, you mean the wildlife agency called the person stupid or something like that, or just noted that the person must be mistaken given the lack of existence?

Killing one would likely get you the wrong kind of attention as most non-game animals are protected by law(at least they are here).

Mountain lions can be taken in Texas. Your information says you are in Alabama. So I am not sure what you mean about non-game animals being protected by law when referring to mountain lions where you are. From http://www.outdooralabama.com/images/file/2011-12%20WFF/64%20Lifetime%20Res%20Code-Regs%207-11.pdf

Regulation 220-2-.06 GAME ANIMALS DESIGNATED
The following animals are hereby designated as game animals: Bear, Beaver, Coyote, Deer,
Opossum, Rabbit, Raccoon, Squirrel, Nutria, Fox, Mountain Lion...

jimmyraythomason
November 11, 2012, 08:36 AM
I am in Alabama and killing a mountin lion here will cost you big time! Mountain lion (and black bear) are protected species in Alabama(even though they don't exist here).From the same regulation you cited above:PROTECTED SPECIES

All birds except English sparrows, crows, collared doves, starlings and blackbirds (except rusty) are protected by state law. Game birds and game animals may only be taken during open season for hunting. There is no open season in Alabama for bear, mountain lion (cougar) and ruffed grouse. Other wildlife species are protected by the nongame species regulation.

Art Eatman
November 11, 2012, 10:29 AM
DNS, what commonly happens when somebody sees a cougar and a reporter learns of the sighting and then goes to some wildlife agency type for comment: The article gives much more space and credence to the wildlife person's "We ain't got no..." comments and writes the article with slant that ridicules the one who saw the critter.

Here in south Georgia, my wife had a definite sighting one morning while driving the fifteen miles to town. She commented on it later and got the usual, "Now, little lady, just how would YOU know what a panther looks like?"

She batted her eyes at him and in her most syrupy ladylike southern manner replied, "It looked just like the one we have draped over the couch at home."

Silence ensued. :D

Double Naught Spy
November 11, 2012, 06:32 PM
I am in Alabama and killing a mountin lion here will cost you big time! Mountain lion (and black bear) are protected species in Alabama(even though they don't exist here).From the same regulation you cited above:PROTECTED SPECIES

Interesting. They are a GAME ANIMAL as defined by law but protected as non-game animals. However, given the long history of settlement in Alabama, this is a recent event. In all the preceding history there and everywhere else, no black ones have ever been taken.

jimmyraythomason
November 11, 2012, 09:27 PM
no black ones have ever been taken.
I think you will have a very hard time proving that statement. Let me stipulate AGAIN that I am not speaking of black cougars(the OP's original subject). I am talking specifically about large long tailed wild cats possibly jaguarundi.

JohnKSa
November 11, 2012, 11:09 PM
Let me stipulate AGAIN that I am not speaking of black cougars...Yes but clearly DNS WAS given that he was responding directly to a statement about mountain lions.

While jaguarundis are certainly related to the topic at hand, it's not really reasonable to contradict someone's statement about mountain lions by saying that you're talking about jaguarundis.

It would be like my saying that no one has ever shot a 1000lb whitetail deer and you responding that I will have a hard time proving that statement and adding that you are talking about elk, not whitetail deer.

Your point about jaguarundis probably being mistaken for black cougars is well taken, however that is not an argument for the existence of black cougars. It is, rather, support for the assertion that when people say they have seen a black cougar/black panther/black mountain lion, they are mistaken.

Double Naught Spy
November 12, 2012, 06:47 AM
I am talking specifically about large long tailed wild cats possibly jaguarundi.

Okay, at least we are clear as to what YOU are talking about about that you don't know what you are talking about. The notion of the cat being large, long tailed, and possibly being a jaguarundi is completely incoherent. Their max weight (20 lbs) is about half that of the norm for bobcats which are NOT considered to be large cats. In fact, it is the smallest native North American cat species, LOL. It is smaller than the Jaguar, Mountain Lion, Bobcat, Lynx, and Ocelot.

I think you will have a very hard time proving that statement.
Now, that isn't to say that these weren't 130 lb. jaguarundis. After all, I would be hard pressed, as you noted, to prove a jaguarundi can't be 130 lbs., but only because one has never been recorded that weight, right?

jimmyraythomason
November 12, 2012, 09:00 AM
I believe folks whom I know personally when they tell me they have seen "a large(?) black cat with a long tail" as I not only trust them not to lie but have also seen one myself. The one I saw certainly wasn't a cougar (too small) but was not a housecat(too large). What we/they are seeing has yet to be positively identified but at this point it's a "he said/she said" argument as neither side has been proven.

jimmyraythomason
November 12, 2012, 09:26 AM
Now, that isn't to say that these weren't 130 lb. jaguarundisI never prescribed a weight to the animal and certainly NOT 130 lbs. The notion of the cat being large, long tailed, and possibly being a jaguarundi is completely incoherent. Offering an alternative of a known animal as possibly being what is being seen(at least in SOME of the sightings) is incoherent? How so?Yes but clearly DNS WAS given that he was responding directly to a statement about mountain lions.
You are correct,my bad. I agree with him on that staement.

Art Eatman
November 12, 2012, 09:58 AM
From Wikipedia, jaguarundis appear to max out at 20 pounds. That would mean that a big jaguarundi would not be much bigger than a large house cat. Hard to envision somebody mistaking one for even a small cougar.

jimmyraythomason
November 12, 2012, 10:18 AM
Hard to envision somebody mistaking one for even a small cougar. Okay,then what did I see and what are other people seeing? I'm open to suggestions(am I the only one?). For background,I am 59 years old,have hunted and trapped since I was big enough to tag along with my dad. Have studied animal behavior and sign as well as wildlife habitat improvement. In over 45 years as a trapper,I have only seen one large black cat and caught only one partially spotted wildcat(described above), 20-25lbs. These two instances are enough to convince me that there are large(over 20lbs) long tailed cats in our woods that are neither cougar nor stray housecats. For the record,I don't believe there are any melanistic cougars.

solvability
November 12, 2012, 10:23 AM
I had this discussion the other day - according to DNR we have no breeding population of Cougars in Alabama, but we all know we do - it is a political finding not biological. We have gray Cougars in North Alabama and jet black Cougars in South Alabama. I have seen one large Gray Cougar and it was a sight - many friends have seen them - a couple close up - the guys and the Cougar were Turkey hunting.

Art Eatman
November 12, 2012, 10:26 AM
Wikipedia sez jaguarundis max out at around 20 pounds. I don't imagine that a housecat sized critter would be mistaken for a panther.

Davek1977
November 12, 2012, 10:37 AM
"I SAW it!" I see that, and even hear that, in conversation so often regarding these kids of stories, and in almsot every case, the person thinks that ought to be enough to convince people of it happening.. Sure...you saw SOMETHING, and after the fact, talked yourself into WHAT you THOUGHT you saw. That is a perfectly reasonable explanation, but one many seemingly refuse to believe as possible. Instead, people create cat species that have never been photographed, taken, or even carcasses found. That seems like a MUCH more plausible explanation than someone's eyes playing trick of them, doesn't it?? C'mon folks...think about what you are asking us to believe! That cat or "cat-like" animals, black in color, with long tails, heavier than 20 lbs.....exist in the Southern wild in such numbers they are apparently frequently seen, but an actual specimen has yet to be found, nor any quantifying evidence of any kind, other than hearsay, backs the idea they exist? WHat can I say? The idea of a mistaken ID or someone's eyes playing tricks on them seems so much more of a logical explanation......

jimmyraythomason
November 12, 2012, 10:39 AM
Okay,fine y'all can have it your way. No point in carrying it any further.

JERRY
November 12, 2012, 10:40 AM
the puma or whatever you want to call it that i saw in S.E. Arkansas was tan. never seen a "puma" in Alabama and have only seen "black" panthers as jaguars and leopards at the zoo.

there was a puma shot by a hunter near West Point Lake in Georgia a few years ago, but it was determined to have been a "pet" set loose due to the minimal amount of parasites it had; im guessing ticks and what not. BTW the hunter who shot it got a big fine by DNR for killing it because he didnt say it was trying to attack him, he was in a deer stand when he saw it and just shot it just because i guess.

Double Naught Spy
November 12, 2012, 12:00 PM
I never prescribed a weight to the animal and certainly NOT 130 lbs.

No, you did not, but you did say ...

I am talking specifically about large long tailed wild cats possibly jaguarundi.

The only natural large, long tailed cats in North America are the mountain lion and jaguar and the mountain lions are the smaller of the two and they are gigantic compared to jaguarundis.

You keep talking about proof, that we can't prove that they aren't black panthers or some other large black cats being seen, but given the preponderance of historical, known, and accepted information about 'black panther' type animals is that they do not exist and so the burden of proof resides with those making claims to the contrary.

jimmyraythomason
November 12, 2012, 12:31 PM
they do not exist and so the burden of proof resides with those making claims to the contrary. I won't argue with that.

allaroundhunter
November 12, 2012, 12:51 PM
You keep talking about proof, that we can't prove that they aren't black panthers or some other large black cats being seen, but given the preponderance of historical, known, and accepted information about 'black panther' type animals is that they do not exist and so the burden of proof resides with those making claims to the contrary.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fc/Jaguar.jpg/800px-Jaguar.jpg

Melanistic Jaguar. Could it be mistaken for a "black panther"?

Davek1977
November 12, 2012, 03:08 PM
It could....but that would mean these black jaguars are being seen at a rate far higher (it seems, and often outside of their documented range) than those of a more common coloring.....something, again, that seems hard to believe, all things considered

allaroundhunter
November 12, 2012, 03:16 PM
It could....but that would mean these black jaguars are being seen at a rate far higher (it seems, and often outside of their documented range) than those of a more common coloring.....something, again, that seems hard to believe, all things considered

Oh I am not saying that all of these sightings are black jaguars, because I can assure you they are not. I am just saying that they do exist, and in N. America nonetheless.

I am with you, it is extremely hard to believe that there are more "black panthers" being seen than their typical colored brethren, especially when there are no pictures or other evidence to support such statements.

Double Naught Spy
November 12, 2012, 04:33 PM
Oh I am not saying that all of these sightings are black jaguars, because I can assure you they are not. I am just saying that they do exist, and in N. America nonetheless.

Sure, Texas, Arizona, and Mexico are all in North America. They haven't been seen in Texas since close to 1900. They are currently occurring (documented sightings) in Arizona. Both Texas and Arizona represent the northmost reaches of their historically documented ranges and Texas' documentation is from the southern portion of the state.

So they aren't going to be in Georgia, Florida, Nebraska, Tennessee, Alabama, etc., despite the claims.

http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowldc/erick-erickson-spots-black-panther-in-backyard_b84151
http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/bama-panther/
http://naturalunseenhazards.wordpress.com/2011/07/02/more-black-panther-sightings-in-tennessee-west-nile-virus-reports-from-california-connecticut-and-nebraska-and-rabies-reports-from-florida-maryland-new-jersey-2-new-york-and-texas-canada-c/

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