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Could we have a panther?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Ever since we moved to West Virginia 2 years ago, I've been hearing about a black panther that is in the area. I always thought panthers were in the tropics. But, there have been sightings of a huge black cat and you can hear it at night (it sounds like a woman screaming at the top of her lungs). The first time I heard it, I was ready to call 911 because I thought someone was being killed. DH said "no, it's just the panther and he's a ways off".

I still thought it was a myth, until last week one farmer found 2 of his cows torn apart and half eaten. Now, we do have cougars and bobcats in the area, and probably wolves. We live on a mountain where most of it is forest with a few houses and farms stuck here and there.

Has anyone heard of black panthers being this far north? I did a search online and they did say they can be found in the southwest, but this is West Virginia! Or, do you think it could just be a black cougar people are mistaking for a panther?

One good thing....no one is out to get the panther/cougar/big cat....as long as it doesn't attack any more livestock. He's just part of the neighborhood, so to speak. But, if he continues to attack livestock, I'm not sure what would happen to him.
post #2 of 15
My guess is that it would be some other kind of big cat, but you never know! When you said woman screaming, the first thing I thought of was a bobcat, but I am definately not an expert!
post #3 of 15
there are lots and lots of rumors about black panthers in WVA.
they have become almost a myth like big foot.

This much i can say for sure , i have seen cougars there, and bears.
and several other animals are making big come back in WVA

oh yea the woman screaming sound, lol yea that is what they sound like.
first time i came across that was when i was about 14 hunting in the woods with my uncles.
made the hair on my head stand up(yes i had hair back then)

my uncles all laughed at me and said, dont worry its just a big cat.
post #4 of 15
There are always stories of large black cats. You should try to catch the episode of Monster Quest (I think that's the show's name?) on the History Channel about large black cats. It's funny, all the film and photographic "proof" of them turns out to be nothing more than people misjudging size and distance - black house cats in other words.

The cattle deaths could be cougar, but are more likely canine - maybe even from wild dogs.
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
There are always stories of large black cats. You should try to catch the episode of Monster Quest (I think that's the show's name?) on the History Channel about large black cats. It's funny, all the film and photographic "proof" of them turns out to be nothing more than people misjudging size and distance - black house cats in other words.

The cattle deaths could be cougar, but are more likely canine - maybe even from wild dogs.
dont you remember at the end of the show?
the one flim the expert said that the black cat movie, showed a black cat about 3 times the size of a normal house cat? not big enough to match the legends but still bigger then normal
post #6 of 15
No, I missed the last few minutes. I can't remember what I was doing - probably putting up laundry or something.
post #7 of 15
Lol I thought you were trying to figure out the legalities of having a panther as a pet.
post #8 of 15
When I lived in Maryland we heard that story too. Willing to bet its one of two things:

1. A melastic cougar
2. Someone's "pet" who escaped
post #9 of 15
Sounds pretty scary to me whatever it is!
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by okiron View Post
Lol I thought you were trying to figure out the legalities of having a panther as a pet.
So did I, when I first read the thread title and was ready to look up the laws for you
First, there is no such thing as a "black Panther". The large black wild cats that people call Panthers are black Leopards. The screaming you have heard, would more than likely be from a wild female cougar in heat. (Cougars are also known as Panthers, Mountain Lions and Puma. The actual name is Puma) Bobcats can also make some very loud screaming noises, but cougars in heat have a cry known as the screaming lady. Yes, I have heard my friends cougar do just that. Carmelo never screams, he just purrs and chirps I doubt very much, that any large black cat has been spotted, such as a Leopard. It is most likely a large black domestic cat seen in the area at night. However, there are also black variations of the bobcat, although rare. They have been seen in Florida. In the area where I live, 2 years ago we had people saying there was a large black Leopard in the area. No leopard was found, just a large black domestic cat
post #11 of 15
hey john,,

could not a couple of cougars have one black cub? or is just not in there dna?
cause like i said i have seen cougars well i saw 2 in 23 years of hunting up in the hills
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmberThe Bobcat View Post
So did I, when I first read the thread title and was ready to look up the laws for you
First, there is no such thing as a "black Panther". The large black wild cats that people call Panthers are black Leopards. The screaming you have heard, would more than likely be from a wild female cougar in heat. (Cougars are also known as Panthers, Mountain Lions and Puma. The actual name is Puma) Bobcats can also make some very loud screaming noises, but cougars in heat have a cry known as the screaming lady. Yes, I have heard my friends cougar do just that. Carmelo never screams, he just purrs and chirps I doubt very much, that any large black cat has been spotted, such as a Leopard. It is most likely a large black domestic cat seen in the area at night. However, there are also black variations of the bobcat, although rare. They have been seen in Florida. In the area where I live, 2 years ago we had people saying there was a large black Leopard in the area. No leopard was found, just a large black domestic cat
LOL! No, I definitely don't want one as a pet! My hands are full with 6 housecats...don't think I want to add one that is as big as me!

I thought it was kind of weird that they were saying it was a panther. Like I said, I looked it up on the internet panther (or black leopards) definitely aren't native to WVa! There have been sightings (our neighbor saw it once) but they were all at night so a lot of things would look black or at least darker. I'm betting its cougars and not 1 big black cat showing up everywhere. Not that it makes me feel a lot better, since what ever it is tore up 2 cows!

The other theory I've heard...about 45 minutes down the road there used to be an exotic zoo. I remember when I was in high school, we passed it on a car trip. I looked out the window and saw Zebra grazing on the hillside. Zebra! In WVA!! Apparently they had all kinds of exotic animals, but I'm not sure what all was there. There is a theory that a big cat escaped from there years ago. I can't find any info, and from what I've heard from asking around, they closed down years ago. So, that's a possibility too. They could have had a leopard or something that mated with a cougar or bobcat I guess.

Who knows. I just know I'm VERY careful walking up to my MIL's at night. That scream just makes my hair stand on end! If it's a cougar, I'm guessing the last few months have been mating season?
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
hey john,,

could not a couple of cougars have one black cub? or is just not in there dna?
cause like i said i have seen cougars well i saw 2 in 23 years of hunting up in the hills
I haven't heard of it happening and I have not seen any pictures of black cougars, but that does not mean it doesn't happen. Look at the recent discovery of the black bobcats down in Florida. (I believe it was Florida) With cougars being so secretive, seeing one in the wild isn't easy, even where the cougar populations are strong. I would love to see an all white cougar, now that would be a sight to behold. However, just like the Tigers and Lions, who have all white offspring, the white cubs normally don't survive in the wild, due to the fact that the white coloring makes it hard for them to sneak up on prey. However, I doubt there has been any white cougars, never heard of them anyway, but they sure would be a sight.
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmberThe Bobcat View Post
So did I, when I first read the thread title and was ready to look up the laws for you
First, there is no such thing as a "black Panther". The large black wild cats that people call Panthers are black Leopards. The screaming you have heard, would more than likely be from a wild female cougar in heat. (Cougars are also known as Panthers, Mountain Lions and Puma. The actual name is Puma) Bobcats can also make some very loud screaming noises, but cougars in heat have a cry known as the screaming lady. Yes, I have heard my friends cougar do just that. Carmelo never screams, he just purrs and chirps I doubt very much, that any large black cat has been spotted, such as a Leopard. It is most likely a large black domestic cat seen in the area at night. However, there are also black variations of the bobcat, although rare. They have been seen in Florida. In the area where I live, 2 years ago we had people saying there was a large black Leopard in the area. No leopard was found, just a large black domestic cat
I remember when I lived in Colorado I was in the mountains fishing. I heard what sounded like a woman screaming it was so chilling. Now I know what that mysterious noise was after all these years!!! I will never forget that! In the 26 years I lived in Colorado and spent in the mountains I have only seen Mountain Lion paw prints in the mud and snow. I have never seen a Mountain Lion or Bobcat in the wild. I wish that one day I would be blessed to see one of these beautiful creatures in the wild.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Who knows. I just know I'm VERY careful walking up to my MIL's at night. That scream just makes my hair stand on end! If it's a cougar, I'm guessing the last few months have been mating season?
Not to worry. Cougars don't normally go after people. The only time you could run a risk of being injured, is if you happen across a female out with her young cubs. She may attack if suprised, but for the most part they do not. Attacks by cougar are very rare. I have relatives who live in Florida. One day they were out hiking on a trail, when a rabbit came darting out of the woods/brush at a very high rate of speed. Seconds later, a cougar came out of that same area hot on that rabbit's trail. However the cougar stooped, looked at them, then just walked away with a look on it's face as if to say, thanks, you made me lose my snack Cougars are actually very curious of people and have been known to follow them out in the wild
Quote:
I remember when I lived in Colorado I was in the mountains fishing. I heard what sounded like a woman screaming it was so chilling. Now I know what that mysterious noise was after all these years!!! I will never forget that! In the 26 years I lived in Colorado and spent in the mountains I have only seen Mountain Lion paw prints in the mud and snow. I have never seen a Mountain Lion or Bobcat in the wild. I wish that one day I would be blessed to see one of these beautiful creatures in the wild.
I have never heard that scream in the wild, but I have heard my friend's cougar do that. But those sounds tend to sound much worse out in the wild, especially in the woods. Bobcats also make some very chilling sounds, if you did not know where or what it was coming from.
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