We have recently been collating as many alleged big cat sightings as we can find in the UK to plot out on Google Maps.
My own personal interest comes from a sighting my mother had in the Redditch area back in 1992. This was around the same time as the now infamous Inkberrow big cat attack.
Two residents of the Inkberrow area had been trying to track down the big cat which had been sighted at various locations around the area. They decided to corner it in the church graveyard and lo and behold it lashed out at them. The lady involved later went on camera and you could clearly see what looked like big old claw marks on her back.
A member of our group has also witnessed a large black cat on the Bromsgrove Highway.
Once the map is complete I will post the link on this blog.
Meanwhile I have posted some Big Cat facts to read. Are there really big cats roaming Britain (and reproducing) or is it all just a load of old hookum? The following big cats are the most likely candidates.
3rd largest big cat, after tiger and lion
Inhabits Mexico, Central America, Paraguay and Northern Argentina
Can be black in color (Black Panther)
Male – 56-96kg / 124-221lb
Male (Large) – 159kg / 350lb
Male (Small) – 36kg / 80lb
Female – 10-20% smaller
Body – 63.7-72 inch / 162-183 cm / 1.62-1.83 m / 5.3-6 ft
Tail – 30 inch / 75 cm / 0.75 m / 2.5 ft
Height (at shoulders) – 27-30 inch / 67-76 cm / 0.67-0.76 m / 2.2-2.5 ft
Base Coat – Tawny Yellow. Can range from reddish brown to black. Covered in rosettes (spots inside rosettes)
Head – Spots (solid)
Tail – Spots (solid). Possible Banding
Underbelly – White
Throat – White
Outer Legs – White
Lower Flank – White
Resembles repetitive cough. Mews and grunts
Looks like Leopard only larger and sturdier
Extremely powerful bite
Good at climbing and swimming
Rosettes on Jaguars coat are larger and fewer in number than Leopards. Spots in Rosettes unlike Leopards.
Head is rounder than Leopards
Forest and open terrain. Prefers dense forest
Near water, likes swimming/ Tries to live near water, rivers
Typically avoids mountains
Nocturnal. Peaks around dawn and dusk. May hunt during day.
50-60% of its time active
Stalk and ambush approach, rather than chase
Opportunistic in prey selection
Bites directly through skull of prey between ears to target brain
Deers, tapirs, dogs, foxes but also frogs, mice, birds and fish
Can kill by neck bite but prefers head bite
May leap onto back on prey to break its back
For smaller prey may just kill with paw swipe to the head.
Attacks from cover, usually a blind spot
Will drag prey to secluded spot to eat
Eats first from neck and chest (heart and lungs) and then the shoulders
34kg cat needs to eat 1.4kg
May gorge up to 24kg and then follow with periods of famine
Males -46-80 km2 / 28.5-49.7 m2
Females – 23-40 km2 / 14.2-24.8 m2
Scrape marks, urine and faeces used to mark territory
Smallest of the four big cats
Can be black in colour (Black Panthers)
Male – 37-91 kg / 82-200 lb
Female – 28-60 kg / 62-132 lb
Body & Head – 35-75 inch / 90-190 cm / 0.9-1.9 m / 2.9-6.2 ft
Tail – 24-43 inch / 60-110 cm / 0.6-1.1 m / 1.9-3.6 ft
Height (at shoulders) – 18-31 inches / 45-80 cm / 0.45-0.80 m / 1.47-2.6 ft
Coat – Rosettes (no internal spots unlike Jaguar). Can be black
Short legs, long body, large skull. Body is long for a cat
Can run at up to 60kmph
Can reach up to 21 years old in captivity
Climbing, can lie in trees
Can leap over 6m
Can jump vertically up to 3m
Adapts to a variety of habitats
Preferred habitats are rainforest and desert
Lives in grasslands, woodlands and forests
Most of day spent resting and sleeping in trees, underneath rocks or in grass
Stalks, pounces and strangles with a quick bite
Can hide kills in dense vegetation or in trees
Can carry prey up to 3 times its own weight
Can live in -25 degress (cent) conditions
Mostly tend to avoid humans, though they are occasionally targeted as prey if sick or struggling. May be attracted to human settlements because of livestock or pets.
Eats anything it can catch
Agile and stealthy predator
Will hunt in daylight if overcast
Males – 30-78 km2 / 18.6-48.4 m2
Females – 15-16 km2 / 9.3-9.9 m2
No black pumas, therefore any black cats sighted are not pumas
Male – 53-72 kg / 115-160 lb
Female – 34-48 kg / 75-105 lb
Nose to tail – 94.4 inches (typical) 59-108.2 inches (range) / 240 cm (typical) 150-275 cm (range) / 2.4 m (typical) 1.5 to 2.75 m (range) / 7.8 ft (typical) 5 to 9 (range)
Height (at shoulders) – 23.6-29.9 inches / 60-76 cm / 0.60-0.76 m / 2.0 to 2.5 ft
Coat – Tawny. Can range from silver-grey to reddish
Underbody – Lighter patches
Jaws – Lighter patches
Chin – Lighter patches
Throat – Lighter patches
Infants – Spotted with blue eyes and rings on tail
Juveniles – Pale, Dark spots on flanks
Cannot roar. Makes low pitched hisses, growls and purrs. May make chirps and whistles. Possibility it can scream.
Round head, erect ears
Vertical leap of 5.4m (18ft)
Horizontal leap of 6-12m (20-40ft)
Can run as fast as 55kmph (35mph)
Best adapted for short powerful sprints rather than long chases
Good at climbing
Can swim although not associated with water
Paw size approx 10cm (4in)
Prefers dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking
Can live in open areas
Life expectancy in wild is 8-13. In Captivity 20
Most active at dawn and dusk
Don’t generally recognise humans as prey. May do if they become to familiar? Or if in severe starvation.
May attack if cornered. Or if fleeing human stimulates its need to chase. Or if person plays dead
Possible defences for humans. Prolonged eye contact. Loud but calm shouting. Or any other action that appears to make you larger and more menacing. Fighting back with sticks, stones or even bare hands may work
Stalk and ambush
Can eat domestic cattle, horses and sheep
Will eat small things such as rodents
Jumps on back of prey and kills with suffocating neck bite.
Capable of break necks of smaller prey
They kill by attacking the back of the neck or head between vertebrae and spinal cord
Males – 150-1000 km2 / 58-386 m2
Females – 75-500 km2 / 29-193 m2
Scrape marks, urine and faeces used to mark territory. Males may scrape together a small pile of leaves and grass and urinate on it.