Below are the latest handful of black panther reports I’ve received since the beginning of the year. I've received fewer reports than usual over the last three months or so but I suspect it is due to the harsh winter we've had here in Texas. Readers from the northeast may get a chuckle out of that statement but, by Texas standards at least, it has been a really tough winter in the Lone Star State. People have been inside more than usual and wildlife has been hunkered down in the warmest spots they can find. Now that spring is beginning to show its face, I am expecting black cat reports to pick up.
As always, I cannot vouch for the veracity of the accounts below. Most of them have come in as comments to blog posts with the commenter remaining anonymous. That being the case, I can’t make secondary contact. It is possible that some sighting reports are the work of hoaxers but I have diligently weeded out those that seem “shady” and printed only those that seem reasonable and credible. The original reports are in italics and are followed by my comments.
"Hello, I recently moved to a community NE of Mckinney, TX in Collin County. I saw what I believe to be a black panther walking in the woods along the creek behind our house. It looked like it had a 3ft tail and body w/tail about 6ft. It was in the shadows of the trees & I did not see any spots. We live in a new community w/ mostly vacant lots, woods, and lakes. The person across the street said he saw one over a year ago. I'm afraid for our dog. Can they be caught and relocated? You are welcome to put up a camera."
TCH Comments: McKinney is a suburb of Dallas and sits just north of another bedroom community, Plano. This area has been the source of a surprisingly large number of black panther reports. McKinney sits between two large reservoirs, Lake Lewisville and Lavon Lake. While a satellite of Dallas, the area gets surprisingly rural very quickly. As far as trapping and relocating a big cat, it would take someone more qualified than I but I suspect it would be all but impossible. While this witness offered to let me put up cameras, the account was submitted as an anonymous comment to another post. That being the case, I can't get in touch with this witness. If the reader who submitted this report happens to see this, please contact me via email at Texascryptidhunter@yahoo.com and we can discuss placing a camera or two on your property.
"I was walking with my two German Shepherds out in my back pasture one morning about 7:oo in January of this year~2014, when my male shepherd came to a quick stop and stood watching something about 50 yards ahead of us. When I looked up I saw a dark colored cat about 30 pounds or so, leap about 10 feet up into a tree covered with thick brush and was gone, it had a long tail. this was off FM 414 in Cleburne, TX. Not sure what it was but a neighbor up the road said his wife had a picture that she had taken earlier."
TCH Comments: Cleburne sits roughly 30 miles south of Fort Worth and halfway between Glen Rose and Waxahachie. This particular area has yielded fewer reports than the areas north and east of the Metroplex but is not devoid of accounts. The area is rural and there is plenty of room for a large cat to hide. This witness estimates the black cat he saw to be about 30 lbs. Could this be a juvenile? The size also makes a jaguarundi in black-phase a possibility. While the jaguarundi is a known species, finding one in north-central Texas would be quite a story as they are not thought to live too far north of the Rio Grande valley. They are very rare even there. I'd like to know if this witness remembers anything about the head of the cat as jaguarundis have a unique appearance. I suppose a large feral cat is a possibility as well if the witness was just a bit off on the heavy side in his weight estimate.
"I have seen a spotted cat in Texas. I have seen it almost every day for about 2 weeks then it was gone. As I have looked into big cats, I found out they move around as the food does and I know that what I saw was a jag and they have been seen here for over the last 75 years as I talk to the old cowboys around Quanah, Texas."
TCH Comments: I found this report extremely compelling as it refers specifically to spotted cats, and jaguars in particular. As has been discussed here before, I don't receive many reports of spotted cats. I will say that the Quanah/Childress area and up into the Panhandle has a bit of a history of jaguar sightings. I haven't talked about it much here but plan on sharing one very interesting account about a jaguar sighting near Pampa, TX here on the site soon. For the reader who submitted this account, please keep a camera handy so that you can get a photo the next time that spotted cat shows its face.
"My husband owns a few acres of land in Center Point, TX where he and his friend go hunting. Last week as they were walking to their blinds they heard a loud cat growl but they didn"t see anything. Today my husband was standing by his shed and saw it. It was black, long tailed and the size of our yellow lab who weighs 80 lbs. My husband says he looked like he was hunting jack rabbits. He and his friend will try and see if they can trap him in a large pig cage. The ranch down the road has live stock cows, lambs and goats. My husband said he was a beautiful animal shiny black."
TCH Comments: I went back and forth over this report and whether or not I should publish it. The first thing that caused me some doubt was how the witness claims her husband heard a "loud cat growl but they didn't see anything." How did they know it was a cat if they didn't see it? The second thing to give me pause was the statement, "My husband says it looked like it was hunting jack rabbits." What gave the witness this impression? After thinking about it though, I decided that if someone gets growled at by a large animal of some kind and then sees a big cat in that same vicinity shortly thereafter, it is a logical conclusion at which to arrive. The description of the animal is classic "black panther" from the size right down to the shiny coat. The area from which the report originates is in the Texas Hill Country and is a bit of a hot spot for sightings of long-tailed black cats. For these reasons, I decided to include the report here. If the witness who submitted this report is reading this comment, please do not be offended that I wrestled with whether or not to include your account. I try to be extremely conservative when I evaluate these types of things and it is likely that some valid accounts occasionally get left out. I decided a while back that I'd rather be short a few valid reports than to allow even a couple of those that are more questionable.
"I've hunted the vast brush country of South Texas for well over 30 years. I've never seen a Sasquatch, Skunk Ape, Chupacabra or any other so called "cryptid". I've never seen a rattlesnake approaching 7 feet and I've never seen a wild hog much over 300 pounds. I don't watch "Finding Bigfoot" and I don't think there's a "Loch Ness Monster". I don't think that little green men designed the pyramids and I don't believe in ghosts; I have however seen large "black cats" with my own eyes on several occasions."
TCH Comments: I love, love, love this statement. This witness just sounds like a Texan. This report, while short on details, perfectly reflects the defiant attitude many rural Texans have about the reality of "black panthers." They are ready to fight when someone tells them there is no such thing. To them, these enigmatic cats are just part of the wildlife that has always been here.
I would like to express my gratitude to those that have submitted their sightings of large black cats. Remember, however, if you would like me to follow up with you please submit your account via an email and not as an anonymous comment to another post.