Monday, November 28, 2005

Australian Mystery Puma Is Just a Giant Housecat

Gippsland, Victoria, Australia has for years been the home to rumors of a Phantom Cat. In June, a hunter bagged what he claimed to be just such a cat—big, wild, perhaps a puma. The DNA test results are in, and it's just a really huge feral cat:
He estimated it was more than 1.5 metres [almost five feet] long and weighed about 35 kilograms [77 pounds].

A scientist with a 30-year interest in big cat research, Bernie Mace, sent the 600 millimetre long tail to Monash University for testing.

. . . .

"The animal was big enough to be a significant threat to perhaps some of the small wallabies and I think the knowledge that feral cats grow to this size in our wild regions has got to be taken seriously and understood from an ecological point of view," he said.

Link (via Fortean Times). Luckily, we now have an artist's rendering of the feline, which could devour a Tasmanian tiger whole:

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Image credits: Canadian Big Cat Email Rumor, available at Snopes, borrowed for news-reporting and comment purposes.