House cats may show off some slick abilities at times, but they can’t compete with their wild cousins.
We’ve seen cats catch an owl, fight off a coyote, and even stare down a moose, but it’s nothing but bad news when they come face to face with a panther.
The population of Florida panthers has been in serious trouble for many years. According to NPR, the predator known as “Lord of the Forest” took the brunt of the large human migration to the Sunshine State in the 1970’s, reducing the number of cats in the wild to around 20-30, due to hunting pressure and habitat disturbance.
Researchers began developing strategies to save the animal, which was experiencing severe problems due to inevitable inbreeding. The restoration efforts culminated in the 1990’s with 8 female pumas from Texas being transported to the area in hopes of increasing genetic variability and being a boon for the species.
The strategy, along with various other protections put in place after it was listed as an endangered species, have grown the population to an estimated 200. While it’s nowhere near the numbers that once ranged from Florida to Louisiana, it appears to have been successful, at least to this point.
But the species is far from out of the woods. Continued suburban expansion remains an issue for the wildcats, as each breeding unit (one male and two to five females) required around 200 square miles of habitat. Cars are also a major issue for the panther population, with 26 killed by automobiles in 2018 alone.
Naturally, as more of these large predator cats begin roaming the southern parts of Florida, there’s going to be an increase in encounters with humans, livestock, and pets. One ranch in the heartland of panther territory estimates they lose between 5 and 7% of their calf crop annually due to predation.
It also means that quite a few pets may go missing, like we see in this video out of South Florida.
A security camera captured a tough to watch scene when a panther locked eyes on a house cat and took advantage of the opportunity, pouncing on the cat and pinning it down on the driveway before locking jaws on its head and carrying it away to eat in peace.
A rough scene for sure and it shows why some people don’t want any further growth of the native species, but it’s hard to argue against saving a creature that has long called the Florida swamps home and is the state’s official animal.
If you’re in South Florida, you may want to keep your cats inside…
Florida Panther Runs Up On Turkey Decoy
What would you do if you happened to have a rare Florida panther sighting while you were right in the middle of a turkey hunt?
You’ve got a couple of scenarios to consider really.
First, you could do as this turkey hunter does and try to stay as still as possible, attempting to not scare or threaten the Florida big cat. Just sit back and hope that it figures out that the turkey decoy isn’t an actual bird, gets bored, and walks off.
Secondly, if the panther gets upset that what it thought would be an easy dinner is a fake-out and turns its attention to you, things could get pretty tense. You wouldn’t want to fire on the endangered species, but what choice do you have if it decides to charge?
Experts estimate that there are only about 200 (or less) Florida panthers left in the wild. Though that might seem to be drastically low, it is believed that they were down to only 20 in the 1970’s.
Being protected underneath the Endangered Species Act, it would be considered a crime if you captured or harmed them.
Thankfully, as most cats big and small tend to be, this Florida panther turned out to just be curious. Though it was probably a little confused or maddened that the turkey it saw was in fact a decoy, the big cat seems to take the whole thing very calmly.
In the video, the Florida panther runs quickly towards what it believes to be a feeding turkey. Once it gets closer and notices that the turkeys aren’t fleeing the scene, the cat begins to figure things out. It still chooses to inspect a little bit more before it eventually gives up on the “turkeys.”
However, the eyes then dart over to the two hunters who were set up in the brush near the two decoys. The middle part of the video shows the un-breaking gaze of the Florida panther as it stares down the two hunters sitting at eye level on the ground.
The big cat keeps an eye on the two camouflaged turkey hunters as it slowly walks by and exits the open field. Like the old saying goes, it appears that the big cat (as menacing as they can be) is more scared of us humans than we are of them.
I do still kind of feel bad for the Florida panther since it got tricked by the decoy. Maybe that long staring contest with the camera midway through the clip is really the panther saying:
“Oh my gosh, this is so embarrassing. I can’t believe I just got caught in 4K.”
You know, that is if Florida panthers had the ability to talk or form human thoughts and sentences, or were even able to feel embarrassed.
I’m not here to confirm or deny that Florida panthers can feel emotions, but I am here to present this wildlife encounter video of an up close and personal run in with the elusive, rarely seen Florida panther:
Wild Boar Breaks Up A Fight Between Two Florida Panthers
Is this Florida or the Serengeti?
Two hunters in Devil’s Garden, Florida witnessed one of nature’s craziest sights when two extremely rare Florida panthers went to war just a few feet from their blind.
There are around 200 wild panthers roaming throughout south Florida, and while at face value this number seems quite low, it is significantly higher than it was in the 1970’s.
According to the National Wildlife Foundation, the panther population bottomed out at 20 to 30 remaining in the wild at one point, putting this incredible animal very near the brink of extinction.
If it wasn’t for the great work of many scientists, passing protective legislation and introducing 8 female Texas pumas to increase breeding odds and genetic diversity, Florida would almost certainly be without their state animal.
While there’s still a lot work to be done, the species appears to have stabilized and wildlife enthusiasts are once again able to see these creatures in their natural habitat, although you generally don’t want to get as close as these guys did.
As the two hunters were sitting in their blind, they heard a murder of crows calling harshly and repeatedly, which typically signals that a predator is nearby. Sure enough, a young tom entered their field of view shortly after, and while just seeing him would have been cool enough, what they got to witness is a truly once in a lifetime moment.
Seemingly out of nowhere, a mature tom burst out and attacks the young panther, clearly unhappy he was invading his territory. The two start a fight to the death, just a stone’s throw from where the hunters were sitting.
As you may have guessed, the older male is easily the more dominant one and takes it to the young panther, pinning him on his back while trying to bite at his stomach area. But just when all appears lost, another crazy thing happens, and a huge wild boar busts out of the tree line and begins running at the warring cats.
The older panther gets distracted by the boar, which allows the younger one to slip away and run off into the high grasses, safe to live another day.
Not going to lie, I was hoping the victor was going to take out the rest of his aggression on the hog, but at the end of the day, all animals went about their business.
What an incredible sight.
If anyone doubts that it’s a real jungle down in Florida, just show them this video…
Florida Panther Charges Right Past Woman On Dock In Corkscrew Swamp
No, we aren’t talking about one of the members of the Florida Panther’s hockey team, who happen to be on an insane run in the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs right now. It would be pretty comical to imagine right winger Matthew Tkachuk running through a Florida swamp though.
Instead, we are talking about an actual Florida panther, as in the animal, causing quite the scare for this woman who managed to hold onto her phone and take this shocking video.
Tina Dorschel was walking through Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, Florida when she found herself in an up close and personal wildlife encounter.
The sanctuary is a natural protected wetlands area that features a boardwalk, observation tower, and obviously from this clip, native wildlife.
The shocking video shows Dorschel walking along the boardwalk area of the sanctuary, when all of the sudden she hears the “pitter patter” of someone approaching on the wooden walkway. However, much to her surprise (she says “oh s**t” multiple times in the video), it wasn’t a someone, but rather a something that was running her way.
She somehow manages to keep the video recording as a large panther comes running right by her on the boardwalk. As it passes her, the animal momentarily loses its footing as it turns a corner of the walkway.
The panther then goes running off in the opposite direction as Dorschel continues to stay frozen in place. It’s clear that the woman’s “fight or flight” response kicked in, and she landed in the “too shocked to move an inch” category of the scale.
I mean, what is she supposed to do? Dive into the swamp and marsh where there are probably all kinds of snakes and alligators? She didn’t have many ideal choices in the moment, and standing still and cursing seems like it ended up working out pretty well.
Some people in the comments are upset at her for not turning the phone horizontally to film the encounter. Yeah, like you are supposed to be thinking of the quality of the video during a potentially life threatening situation such as this one.
Better make sure you get a good angle of the Florida panther ripping you to pieces!
That just goes to show you how people can manage to get mad, or find reasons to be angry, at just about everything.
Tina could have died, yet people are just saying “smh Tina, you couldn’t have turned the phone to a landscape orientation?”
The video is linked below, and the description of the video went as follows:
“On March 29th, Tina Dorschel from Naples, Florida was walking through the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary when she spotted an unusual suspect.
A Florida Panther came running out onto the dock! Florida Panthers are a rare sighting for anyone, especially a close encounter!”
Louisiana Bobcat Easy Makes Huge Jump
Now granted I’m not familiar with the World Record long jump for a bobcat, but this has to be pretty close.
Filmed in Pecan Island, Louisiana, even these crab fishermen were blown about by this display of athleticism:
“We were just out fishing for blue crab in Pecan Island, LA and this huge bobcat came out across the weir.
I grabbed my phone thinking he was about to get wet, but he surprised us all.”
According to National Geographic, a bobcat can jump about 10 feet and just from the eye test, that gap looks bigger than 10 feet.
This fella cleared it with ease…
Two Bobcats Scrap In Texas Front Yard
Texas is a special place.
Aside from the incredible country music, you never know what you might see… maybe it’s a jacked kangaroo, or truckers fighting, or an evicted dude obsessed with Bud Light, OR in this case, a pair of bobcats going at it hard in a family’s front yard.
The person filming said that the bobcats squaring off in the neighborhood “were walking down the street from house to house to marking their territory,” beating the piss out of each other along the way.