Imagine my surprise when I turned on the news the other morning only to discover there is a mysterious feline problem in my neighborhood. Now I’m not talking the feral cat variety of feline problem that neighbors get up in arms over. I’m talking about the elusive Black Panther.
In case you aren’t familiar with these infamous creatures let me give you a little background. Black panthers have been a familiar figure in the cryptozoology (the study of hidden animals) world for many years. In mainstream zoology there are only black leopards or jaguars. The word panther is more commonly associated with cougars, mountain lions, or pumas. However, all three of these are a light golden brown color rather than black. To date a black “panther” has never been identified or earned a place in zoological taxonomy.
Apparently, in the last few weeks, a number of people have spotted some large black cats in the Palisades and Sneaden’s Landing areas of New York’s lower Hudson Valley. All of the people involved have described the animals as shiny black, 4 to 5 feet in length, about 3 feet tall, and having a long black tail. A father and son were biking in the Tallman Mountain State Park when they spotted two of the cats about 25 yards from them. According to Fox News police investigators haven’t found any hard evidence of the cats, but some unidentified prints were found and police are continuing to investigate the situation. Wendy Rosenbach, a spokeswoman for Department of Environmental Conservation, said the agency has never found any evidence of mountain lions or cougars in the lower Hudson Valley.
So far I haven’t had any wildlife encounters outside of seeing some relatively large squirrels in my yard recently. However, I will keep my eyes open for any Black Panthers that might wander into my neck of the woods.
Has anyone out there ever had any encounters with Black Panthers or anything else mysterious?