Following are the latest reports submitted to me by fellow Texans who claim to have encountered large, black, long-tailed cats matching the classic description of a “black panther.” As I have stated here numerous times, there is not supposed to be any such animal. Despite this fact, Texans, and other people across the American South, continue to report sightings of these enigmatic felines.
Before we go any farther, numerous people have posted comments to previous posts on this topic claiming to have photos of these mystery cats. It is true that photos cannot be attached to comments; however, pictures can be emailed directly to me at Texascryptidhunter@yahoo.com. This email address can also be found in the right margin of the blog site. PLEASE, if you have photos or videos, attach them to an email and send them to this address. If you are leaving a comment on another post and would like for me to contact you directly, contact information will have to be included in the comment you leave, as I cannot respond directly to said comments.
Now, on to the reports…
I just wanted to inform you that this video was taken on my property the other night and they do, in fact exist, in Austin, Texas. Video, still pictures from an ATS night vision scope with an IR light. I also have pics with him killing and eating a deer and also a pic with me in the same spot as the cat with a tape measure to prove this guy is 250-300 lbs. already contacted the TPW game warden I was told to shoot it if I see it again as that cat could take me out in a matter of seconds and I hunt a lot at night by my self for hogs.”
- Adam Pace
TCH Comment: This is an interesting still. I do not get the impression this is a hog but it cannot absolutely be ruled out. I would really need to see the video to be sure. Also, the report is sketchy on exactly where the sighting took place. Adam mentioned in a different email that he has other photos. While I lean toward “cat,” based on the still provided, I would need to see the other photos/video to be sure. Adam, if you are reading this, please send the video, or a link to it, along with any other photos you have of this animal. While intriguing, I will leave this sighting off the sighting distribution map until I see the other photos/video.
“I saw something like this in northeast Texas. Looked like a medium size dog but was black and quite slender, almost like a huge dachshund and really long. It saw me and darted behind some items in the carport and watched me. I stood still not sure what to do. It suddenly leaped out toward me and I made a run for the house, which was only a few feet away. When I closed the door the big "cat" changed directions and ran off into the dark field surrounding the house. I wondered if it was a panther but I always thought they were huge.”
- Lisa Carlson
TCH Comment: I believe Lisa’s report, and it sounds like she might have ecountered a jaguarundi, but there are some additional details I would like to get before placing the sighting on the distribution map. Was a tail visible? What was the head shape? Were the ears small or large? Etc. Lisa, if you are reading this please feel free to contact me with these additional details.
“I was discussing with my mom my trip to big bend and told her about what I thought was a jaguarundi running on the side of the road between Fredericksburg and Harper. I pulled up some photos to show her what they look like, and that's when I stumbled upon your website. I unfortunately have no photos of it, but it was running in the tall grass on the side of the road and all I could see hop up was the back of its head, which was a dark chocolate brown color, and it had those tiny round ears that are not like any dog or cat. It was low to the ground but was running fast.
This was on the 15th. I kept dismissing it, like maybe it was a skunk with no stripe, like there's no way a jaguarundi was this far north, but I started thinking that during the height of the drought, people kept reporting to a game warden friend of mine bear sightings outside of Sonora, so maybe it isn't totally out of the realm of possibility. I wasn't sure if you only want photos, or sightings as well. I had an internship with parks and wildlife where I had to determine plants from a distance and so I'm always watching the roads carefully. I almost wish I could retrain my brain to not do it, but without this annoying trait I might not have seen it.
In any case, I'm glad I stumbled upon your website, I'll definitely be keeping up with it!”
TCH Comment: This is another sighting where I want to make it clear that I believe the witness. In this case, however, all Robin was really able to see was the top/back of the animal’s head. The description of the ears is intriguing, but without other details I cannot even be absolutely sure a cat was the animal seen. Much like the report from Lisa above, I need to know if a tail was visible and a size estimate. The witness here considered the idea that a skunk might have been seen. Though dismissed later, it makes me wonder about the size of the animal seen. Robin, if you can fill in some of these details, please email me. For now, I will hold off on putting this sighting on my sightings distribution map.
“I would love to show you the photos of a large female and a smaller cat near Tildon. I'm about 200lb and have very large hands. My fist was swallowed by the size of the adults paw print. This is a high fence ranch with massive white tail. I think these cats are eating well.”
- Stephen Burgeorf
TCH Comment: Stephen, I wold love to see those photos. Please email them to me at Texascryptidhunter@yahoo.com. Thanks.
“We have pictures of a panther In our back yard from a deer cam in Huntington TX Right outside of Lufkin,TX
I didn't see anywhere to post them or I would do that, I almost didn't believe it in my own back yard!!”
- Kathy Franklin
TCH Comment: Kathy, I would love to see those photos. Please email them to me at Texascryptidhunter@yahoo.com. Thanks.
“Hi. My name is Holly Blackmon and I live outside of Paris, Texas. My husband pastor's a small country church that is about 15 miles northeast of Paris. This happened 5-6 years ago. I believe it was late summer/early fall in the late afternoon. My daughter and I had been out riding horses and were in the car headed back home. This happened on CR 45600 just off of FM 1502 in far northeastern Lamar county (nearly to the Red River county line). I was driving slowly because we were looking at one of our church member's horses. When we came over the crest of a little hill there was a black panther sauntering across the road in front of us! Maybe 10-15 yards away. He never got in a hurry and acted like it never saw us. I was stopped and watching it and I remember thinking am I really seeing this? The mascot of the school district I work for is a panther and I kept thinking it looks just like the North Lamar panther! It was large and black, Its feet were huge and it's tail hung down in the back and curled (like a backward “J”). It walked across the road and into the pasture on the other side. A few days later we were having a fellowship at our church and another lady was telling the church member who had the horses that we were looking at that she was driving past on the same road and across from where his horses were, a black panther was just sitting there! I have watched for it ever since but never seen it again.”
- Holly Blackmon
TCH Comment: Holly’s account is compelling and she does not seem to have any doubt as to what she saw. In addition, the sighting took place in an area with a history of sightings of large, black, long-tailed cats. I will be adding this sighting to my sightings distribution map.
“I live in Helotes, in an acreage community. Just before dusk today, I was driving home and a dark colored, weird looking cat, long tail, long body, flattened head, ran in front of my car into a thicket of trees. No way it was a domestic cat. Was about 1.5 times the size of a house cat, and ran in a weird, pogo motion bouncing from front feet to back feet. That's what struck me as most odd about it. I’m pretty sure it was a Jaguarundi, but they aren’t supposed to be here. Hope they are making a comeback, though.”
TCH Comment: Helotes sits in Bexar County just to the northwest of San Antonio. The area is often considered the gateway to south Texas. The witness is correct in that the jaguarundi is not supposed to live that far north, however, his description is dead on for the species. I believe it is plausible a jaguarundi was seen and will include this sighting on my distribution map.
Readers likely have noticed that the majority of the reports included in this post were not added to my black panther sightings distribution map, at least not yet. I have included the reports here for public viewing for two reasons. First, I believe the accounts of Adam, Lisa and Robin. I do not want there to be any doubt about that. The second reason I have included them is to show that I do not, no matter how intriguing an account might be, add each and every reported sighting to the map. Sightings must meet certain criteria in my mind and include certain details that help rule out cases of mistaken identity. Should Adam, Lisa or Robin contact me with additional information and fill in some of the gaps in their accounts, I will gladly add the their sightings to the distribution map.
In the meantime, if you care to peruse the interactive black panther sighting distribution map, click here. Once you can view the map, click on individual pins to read a brief synopsis of what was reported at the location.