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.