Monday, July 30, 2007

Could I have seen a Florida panther?

A reader writes:

"Hello, Are there Florida panthers in central-western Florida? I live in Tampa in a very woodsy area and spotted a panther. I know it may not sound believable, but it was around 8 pm and still bright out. It was in plain sight, and we had a few minutes of staring at each other before my barking dog scared it off. Any info would be much appreciated. Thanks, Marsha"

Most of the time when people think they see a panther, they really see a bobcat, experts say. That's because there are fewer than 100 Florida panthers living in the state, and most of them are in southwestern Florida. However, even though it's not likely, it's possible you saw a panther. Florida panthers have been known to cross I-4. Some residents as far north as Daytona Beach think they have seen a panther around. Panthers can roam quite far.

Visit the News-Press Web site to track collared Florida panthers.

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Blogger Z said...

If it had "tiger" stripes on its face (and especially if it had distinctive white spots on the backs of its ears about an inch in diameter) it was most likely a bobcat. Adult panthers have no stripes, and kittens are spotted. Bobcats look pretty impressive when compared to a housecat, but an adult panther is three to four times as big -- six to seven feet from nose to tip of tail, which is as long as its body.

Tue Sep 18, 12:57:00 PM EDT  

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