Monday, November 29, 2010

Has A Black Panther Been Photographed?

Is this a black panther?

The photo above was entered in the Field & Stream game camera photo contest a while back (You can check out the contest at the Field & Stream link here). I have no background on the photo other than that.

So, what do you think? Is this photographic evidence of a black panther or just a photo of somebody's black labrador retriever? I'm leaning a bit toward it being a dog. This is due mostly to the length of the tail. It seems a bit short for a big cat. Of course the tail could be partially obscured in the photo so who knows?

Scale is always tricky with something like this as well. The photo certainly gives the impression that this animal is pretty large but it is impossible to know for sure. I do not think, like many big cat photos, that this is just a large house cat. The coat is too short and glossy and the animal too thickly muscled.

It is a shame the photo does not show the face of the animal. That would have gone a long way toward solving the mystery.



  1. Mike, I'm leaning towards big cat. I have a lab, and it's walk is much different from the way this creature in the picture is walking. the legs, particularly the back legs are bent in a way that dogs' normally don't while walking... Dogs tend to walk more "stiff" legged.
    Also, I have a black house cat, and the stance of the animal in this picture is very similar to one I see daily from my cat, Jack. The legs of this animal, especially the front legs, appear to be thicker than a normal dog, too.
    I'm not saying it's a panther.. but I don't think it's a lab.


  2. I have seen a black panther once in Oklahoma. While the animal looks a little too muscled, it still looks more like a feline than a dog and it's fairly close to what I saw. Between the two I'd say black panther.

  3. Based on stance AND tail...I'd say black panther. Jaguars do have shorter tails than mountain lions and tigers. The position of the animal is very cat-like.

  4. I am leaning towards big cat. Black jaguars in Central and South America are known to have shorter, stumpier tails than regular jaguars, perhaps the same is true with black panthers.