Seen in places they should not be, mysterious Black Panthers have been reported throughout eastern North America. (Loren Coleman)
Animals called “Black Panthers” are reported throughout the world, as mystery felids, when they are seen in locations which they are not normally said to inhabit. Technically, the known cats labeled black panthers that are seen in zoos, wildlife documentaries, and in their native habitat are actually black or melanistic leopards, or less frequently, black or melanistic jaguars.
To confuse matters even further, “panther” is a term synonymous with mountain lion, puma, cougar, or painter; all denote the same animal, a tawny (not a black) felid. No scientifically verified specimen of a black mountain lion is known to exist or is accepted by zoology.
Melanistic mystery cats seen in the wilds of North America, however, are often called, popularly, Black Panthers and have been sighted for decades. These big black cats may be an undiscovered group of felids, the Pleistocene’s Panthera atrox, which are intelligent, behave aggressively, have a taste for livestock, and avoid human beings when possible.
The atrox males may have manes, and the females sometimes, perhaps often, are black.
The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters,Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature
Written by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark – Copyright 1999 Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark