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Elusive black cougar spotted in Oakville, Canada


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The general assumption with “black panther” sightings in Texas is that these are black or melanistic cougars. The problem is there has never been a melanistic cougar observed by science either in a zoo, captive setting, killed by a hunter, mounted by a taxidermist or otherwise positively identified.

https://fishgame.com/2020/01/black-cougars-dont-exist/

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Melanistic bobcats have been killed and mounted in Texas and in fact one that was mounted by taxidermist Steve Moye was mounted leaping at a quail and hung in the Gander Mountain sporting goods store in Beaumont for the better part of a decade.

My experience shows that many people cannot differentiate a bobcat and a cougar. Many are surprised that bobcats have tails at and in fact some have tails as long as eight inches. A black bobcat could easily be labeled a “black panther” by someone who is not aware of melanism in the species and might not be able to differentiate between a bobcat and cougar.

And

https://livingalongsidewildlife.com/?p=2005

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 There is no compelling evidence that a single wild “black panther” has ever existed in United States. The largest cat in the United States, and in fact the fourth largest cat in the world, is the mountain lion (Puma concolor) – also known as cougar, catamount, painter, and in Florida, panther. Adult cougars are about 120-150 pounds, have tawny or brown coats, and with the exception of the endangered Florida panther population and a few solitary and long-distance travelers, live in the western part of the country. Cougars have been hunted for centuries and are one of the best-studied animals on the planet, yet there has never been a cougar documented displaying melanism. Melanism is a genetic variation that results in excess pigmentation turning the coat entirely black, and this variation just isn’t part of a cougar’s genetic make-up. So, you see, there has never been such thing as a black mountain lion

 

Edited by Resume
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Really? I see black cougars all the time.
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10 minutes ago, Nnicolette said:

Really? I see black cougars all the time.

almost bit.

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I was of the understanding that the only Big Cat that can be black is the jaguar and even those are not pure black, their territory used to extend into the US along the southern border States but today would be rare to see a normal jaguar in the US today let alone a Melanistic one. So if they saw a big black cat, unless it is someone's pet Jaguar, I don't know how one of those would end up in Canada.  

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21 minutes ago, Socio said:

I was of the understanding that the only Big Cat that can be black is the jaguar and even those are not pure black, their territory used to extend into the US along the southern border States but today would be rare to see a normal jaguar in the US today let alone a Melanistic one. So if they saw a big black cat, unless it is someone's pet Jaguar, I don't know how one of those would end up in Canada.  

Though rare, sometimes leopards exhibit melanism.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-are-black-leopards-so-rare-180973820/

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Black leopards are mysterious cats. With a rare variation of the generally spotted carnivore’s coat, they blend into the shadows and are nearly invisible in the dark. But the black fur that provides a boost to sneakiness could come with a cost to communication—and new research may explain why wild, all-black cats are relatively rare.

The black color variants of cats like leopards, jaguars and ocelots are known by experts as “melanism.” Over the years, researchers have come up with a handful of hypotheses to explain why some wild cat species have these darker coats. The black cats are likely better concealed at night, but the variant may also allow cats to warm faster in the sun or even ward off certain parasites. But the trouble with being an all-black cat, a new study in PLOS ONE suggests, is that markings critical to feline communication get obscured.

Melanistic cats are not as black as a moonless night. Often, their spots are still visible. But black leopards, jaguars and other wild cats lack the white markings on their ears and tails that other members of their species often use to signal to each other.

 

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On 7/11/2022 at 12:47 AM, Nnicolette said:

...I see black cougars all the time.

I wish, I could experience such hallucinations. They would amount to flashbacks of more pleasant times

Big-block beauty - 1967 Mercury Cougar XR-7 GT | Hemmings Daily

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If an area supports large cats why couldn't a black one pop up?

Of all the alleged "big cat" sightings people post here i havent seen not one that didnt look like a big alley cat.

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This is the favored prey of those alleged urban cats you've been spotting in alleys there

tw: albino rats | Tumblr

 

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7 hours ago, Autistocrates said:

I wish, I could experience such hallucinations. They would amount to flashbacks of more pleasant times

Big-block beauty - 1967 Mercury Cougar XR-7 GT | Hemmings Daily

Hallucinations? It always cracks me up how people on UM get a sense of superiority from thier lack of understanding :w00t:

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I can't say that my guess is right, but feral cats (black cats) and distance may account for these sightings. 

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, Abramelin said:

There appear to be melanistic cougars/pumas in Middle- and South America:

http://messybeast.com/genetics/mutant-pumas.html

Yes, there are reports of such, and there are reports of all sorts of things; however, there are no confirmed examples of melanistic felis concolor.  Contrast that with actual confirmed examples of melanistic jaguar, leopard, bobcat and jaguarundi. "Trophy" hunters have pursued these successfully for hundreds of years, yet not one actual melanistic cougar has even been harvested.

From your link (bolding mine)

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Until melanism is confirmed in the puma, there are several other possible explanations that could explain black puma sightings.

This is not to say that melanistic cougars do not exist, just that they haven't been confirmed; I personally doubt they exist due to the natural history of North America, and the exploitation of same by human beings.  If they truly existed, surely we'd have a confirmed example by now.

Edited by Resume
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4 hours ago, XenoFish said:

I can't say that my guess is right, but feral cats (black cats) and distance may account for these sightings. 

Growing up in Missouri, we had a pet bobcat mix.   It was totally black (named Midnight).   It was pretty big.   I have a sister in law who was afraid to come over because of it.   When we moved, we left it there because it mostly lived off the land. 

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5 hours ago, Myles said:

Growing up in Missouri, we had a pet bobcat mix.   It was totally black (named Midnight).   It was pretty big.   I have a sister in law who was afraid to come over because of it.   When we moved, we left it there because it mostly lived off the land. 

Was it a friendly pet? Or more feral?

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9 hours ago, Nnicolette said:

Hallucinations? It always cracks me up how people on UM get a sense of superiority from thier lack of understanding :w00t:

I find zero ego in lack of understanding and feel badly for the ignorant.

On 7/10/2022 at 6:47 PM, Nnicolette said:

Really? I see black cougars all the time.

That didnt give any details a person will either fill in the blanks, guess or yawn.

i do see a lot of people make unsupported claims of extraordinary experences as fact which many times are the result of drugs, alcohol, both, hallucinations,  delusionals even mental illness. All proven explanations.

Of course it is side splitting hilarious to me when someone says to the effect, yeah, we were partying but but but the drugs and drink had no bearing on what i saw it was real.

Most DTBs insist paranormal ( never once proven )is the only possible explanation for their experence then call the skeptic narrow minded, many get cross their stories are not believed at face value yes, lots to laugh at.

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12 hours ago, the13bats said:

Was it a friendly pet? Or more feral?

It would come in the house and sit beside us and allow us to pet it.   We couldn't rough house with it because it's claws and teeth were too long and sharp, but it wasn't mean.

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On 7/11/2022 at 7:25 PM, Socio said:

I was of the understanding that the only Big Cat that can be black is the jaguar and even those are not pure black, their territory used to extend into the US along the southern border States but today would be rare to see a normal jaguar in the US today let alone a Melanistic one. So if they saw a big black cat, unless it is someone's pet Jaguar, I don't know how one of those would end up in Canada.  


And another problem, Socio, is that - according to the article in the OP, there have been 52 such sightings of a black cat in Ontario over a 5 year span.
Ontario's human population density is low, making encounters less probable, so that figure is impressive, and it indicates a large population of cats. 
But... what kind of cat 
 

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There are still some black panthers (I think they are technically classified as black jaguars) near my Mexican home.

 

I'm not going to say it’s impossible but I can’t see them existing outside of a jungle and not be seen more often.

 

I just noticed the op says “black cougar”. I’m unaware if that sort of allele or variation exists.

 

interesting

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On 7/12/2022 at 9:11 AM, Myles said:

Growing up in Missouri, we had a pet bobcat mix.   It was totally black (named Midnight).   It was pretty big.   I have a sister in law who was afraid to come over because of it.   When we moved, we left it there because it mostly lived off the land. 

I had one before. People on UM argued nonstop that they dont exist and im delusional... Good old UM. My friend's was about the size of a medium dog and very unfriendly, put a lot of people in the hospital, but i never saw one quite big enough to mistake for a panther. They are built too different. No tails and more fluff.

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On 7/12/2022 at 2:16 PM, the13bats said:

I find zero ego in lack of understanding and feel badly for the ignorant.

That didnt give any details a person will either fill in the blanks, guess or yawn.

i do see a lot of people make unsupported claims of extraordinary experences as fact which many times are the result of drugs, alcohol, both, hallucinations,  delusionals even mental illness. All proven explanations.

Of course it is side splitting hilarious to me when someone says to the effect, yeah, we were partying but but but the drugs and drink had no bearing on what i saw it was real.

Most DTBs insist paranormal ( never once proven )is the only possible explanation for their experence then call the skeptic narrow minded, many get cross their stories are not believed at face value yes, lots to laugh at.

Thank you for demonstrating my point... Some people apparently feel a great deal of superiority from thier shortsightedness and lack of humor and comprehension. Kudos.

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On 7/13/2022 at 7:16 AM, the13bats said:
On 7/11/2022 at 8:47 AM, Nnicolette said:

Really? I see black cougars all the time.

That didnt give any details a person will either fill in the blanks, guess or yawn.

i do see a lot of people make unsupported claims of extraordinary experences as fact which many times are the result of drugs, alcohol, both, hallucinations,  delusionals even mental illness. All proven explanations.

Of course it is side splitting hilarious to me when someone says to the effect, yeah, we were partying but but but the drugs and drink had no bearing on what i saw it was real.

Most DTBs insist paranormal ( never once proven )is the only possible explanation for their experence then call the skeptic narrow minded, many get cross their stories are not believed at face value yes, lots to laugh at.

She was talking about women.

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On 7/12/2022 at 11:11 AM, Myles said:

Growing up in Missouri, we had a pet bobcat mix.   It was totally black (named Midnight).   It was pretty big.   I have a sister in law who was afraid to come over because of it.   When we moved, we left it there because it mostly lived off the land. 

I grew up in the ozarks probably not far from you and I heard a lot of stories through the years about mixes that were black. If you ask science they will tell you that the genomes differ enough that a cross between a cat and bobcat is an infertile union. 
 

but I tend to believe people. Thanks for sharing.

Btw- all the other stories I’ve heard have mentioned the same - that the mixed breed would go from friendly to bat**** killer demon in a heartbeat.

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9 minutes ago, Nobu said:

I grew up in the ozarks probably not far from you and I heard a lot of stories through the years about mixes that were black. If you ask science they will tell you that the genomes differ enough that a cross between a cat and bobcat is an infertile union. 
 

but I tend to believe people. Thanks for sharing.

Btw- all the other stories I’ve heard have mentioned the same - that the mixed breed would go from friendly to bat**** killer demon in a heartbeat.

I guess we didn't know for sure it was a bobcat/cat mix.   Never had it tested or anything.   It was just very large and had some traits that led us to believe it.  Short tail (almost none).  Fur on the face and neck area that was different from other cats.  

We were lucky we were never hurt by it.  We did see it get in a fight with a neighbors German Shepard.  The Shepard was in rough shape afterword's.  Not life threatening but lots of scratched and blood.  The cat was about the size of a medium beagle. 

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, Myles said:

I guess we didn't know for sure it was a bobcat/cat mix.   Never had it tested or anything.   It was just very large and had some traits that led us to believe it.  Short tail (almost none).  Fur on the face and neck area that was different from other cats.  

We were lucky we were never hurt by it.  We did see it get in a fight with a neighbors German Shepard.  The Shepard was in rough shape afterword's.  Not life threatening but lots of scratched and blood.  The cat was about the size of a medium beagle. 

I googled after I replied to you and quora had a story like yours.

 

I believe 100 percent that your cat was half bobcat. We have all been around enough cats in our lives that when one comes out of a momma cat and it isn’t quite right and naturally feral it isn’t a big jump to put 2 and 2 together even though that isn’t very scientific.

 

Edited by Nobu
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