Here is his report—
"I have seen a large black cat on my wooded rural property twice. I called the Dept. of Wildlife and they said they get reports of them all the time.
This cat was quite large but nowhere near the size of a full grown mountain lion, leopard, or jaguar. I would estimate it under 2' tall and maybe around 4' plus long. It had a very long tail. It looked like a miniature mountain lion. It wasn't built as heavily as a leopard or as boxy as a jaguar.
After doing much research, I'm convinced that what I saw was a jaguarundi. While I have been passionate about animals all my life, this is a cat that I had never heard of before. They are from South and Central America, and do resemble a small mountain lion. They come in a tawny color very similar to a mountain lion and a very dark grey that can look black.
The first one (sighting) was probably about 3 years ago. It was sometime in the fall probably late October or early November. That's about the best I can remember. My living room has a wall of windows that look out to my backyard and several wooded acres of my own and neighbors' property. I simply looked out the window and saw it crossing the yard as clear as day. It was maybe 100 feet away. It walked out of the woods and walked across an open area of my yard. I ran outside, but it was long gone by the time I got there. I do remember that it was about 3:30 in the afternoon.
I really can't remember when I saw the second one. It might have been a little over a year ago. I do remember that it was about the same time of day. It was in the same area of my yard and looked like it was sniffing around underneath a big cedar tree in my yard. Again, I ran outside just hoping for a closer look. I got a little closer, maybe 70 feet from it. I saw it run away this time. It topped a little rise in my yard that leads into the woods and it was just gone, which doesn't really surprise me since it's a cat."
|The image which James Francis included in his email|
|A map showing the regions where jaguarundis are recognized as a native species.|
Mississippi is not on this map.
|Different images of Jaguarundi individuals and a Jaguarundi skull.|
An interesting theory which has existed in the cryptozoological community is that some of the sightings of black panthers in the Southern and Southwestern United States are actually of Jaguarundis. On the Texas Cryptid Hunter blog, an interesting trail camera photo which seems to show a relatively large and dark colored felid was posted. The photograph was taken in the Hill Country of Texas, and seems to show a jaguraundi (according to Mike's analysis). After examining the photograph and different models of game feeders, Mike came to the conclusion that the cat is smaller than a jaguar or cougar but is likely larger than a feral cat. Chester Moore, a naturalist of the Southern Panther Search, has concluded that the animal's dark color, body position, and short legs likely point to a jaguarundi. Jaguarundis are not supposed to exist in this area, so this could be photographic evidence for the existence of jaguarundis in regions which they aren't recognized in.
|A possible jaguarundi track from an area of Texas where they are not a recognized species.|
- "Jaguarundi (Puma Yagouaroundi)." Jaguarundi Videos, Photos and Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2013. http://www.arkive.org/jaguarundi/puma-yagouaroundi/.
- "Texas Cryptid Hunter: Black Panther Photographed in the Texas Hill Country?" Texas Cryptid Hunter: Black Panther Photographed in the Texas Hill Country? N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2013. http://texascryptidhunter.blogspot.com/2012/02/black-panther-photographed-in-texas.html.
- "Anomalist Feature: Are US 'Black Panthers' Actually Jaguarundi?" Anomalist Feature: Are US 'Black Panthers' Actually Jaguarundi? N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2013. http://www.anomalist.com/features/jag.html.