Have you seen a large, spotted, long-tailed wildcat?
The photo above is of a rare, spotted Jaguarmundi, captured in Costa Rica! The wildcat I saw had the same body proportions, but the spots were more muted, like on an indigenous Bobcat. Also, its tail was furry, like a Bobcat, but very long like a Jaguarmundi. The Ocelot’s tail is not as furry.
Bobcats got their name because of their bobbed tail. However, there was a wildcat in my back woods Friday night that had the body proportions and size of an Ocelot or Jaguarmundi and which looked like a spotted Jaguarmundi. Such critters are not supposed to be in the Southern Appalachians! They are tropical animals, which supposedly could not survive our mountain winters.
My newly restored old house is on the brow of a mountain overlooking the Nacoochee Valley. I see a lot of wildlife here. A 2-3 year old male Black Bear passes through several times a week. Herds of deer are also common. Gray Squirrels and Flying Squirrels are endemic. Two nature preserves . . . one 50 acres and the other, 12 acres, adjoin my 2 1/2 acres so the feeling of the mountainous landscape is like being in a national forest. Of course, the Chattahoochee National Forest and Chattahoochee River are close by. The house and nearby property are illuminated with floodlights to discourage our local bear from messing with the house.
Friday morning, a flock of wild turkeys nested in the back of my property. That night around 11 PM, my dogs started barking. I looked out the second story bathroom, swept the woods with a powerful light and was surprised to see a large spotted wildcat with a long tail. It was much too long and tall to be a feral domesticated cat. It must have weighed at least 40 pounds. Unlike Bobcats and Mountain Lions, it made no sound while hunting. The animal ignored my search light. It continued stalking the turkeys, until it came to an oak where, they were nesting on branches and climbed the tree. It caught one that flew into the trunk, while in a panic.
In know what I saw. I have 20-5 vision and good night time vision. Such critters are not supposed to live here. I googled “long tailed Bobcat” and found several articles about eyewitnesses, who have claimed to have see such animals in Texas, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. Biologists are generally dismissive of their claims, but again . . . I know what I saw. It was NOT a feral house cat or a Bobcat. The spots were more like this ocelot, but muted . . . plus the tail was furry, like a Jaguarmundi. It was big enough to quickly overpower and kill an adult turkey. Have you seen any animals like this one in your neck of the woods?
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