I encountered a seven foot long oily black mountain lion

I encountered a seven foot long oily black mountain lion


Dec. 2007: Mears, Michigan….Returning from Hart after breakfast at 8:30 am driving west to Silver Lake on B15 ridge road; I encountered an oily black approximately 7 ft long mountain lion.

He crept across the road behind my vehicle heading east and stopped approx 50 yards from me turned around sat down and stared at me for 10 seconds then turned and disappeared into old standing corn next to an abandoned trailer.


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Hi… thanks for posting this. When a wildcat has a black coat it is due to a genetic mutation that transforms the tabby cat coat (ticked or spotted) into a full black coat with faint tabby ghost markings. They are usually called “melanistic cats” after the pigment in each individual hair strand that is black and which is called, “melanin”.

The classic term, “black panther” is usually used to describe the melanistic jaguar or the leopard. But there is no reason why it cannot be used to describe a black mountain lion.

Servals can be melanistic too. What causes the genetic mutation? Evolution is dependent on genetic mutations that are beneficial to the animal and which have therefore stuck around, expanded and developed.

Black cat coats have two advantages to a cat. The black pigment absorbs more heat. The melanistic servals are usually found at high altitudes where the atmosphere is colder.

Apparently black is linked to a resistance to disease – i.e. black, melanistic cats are apparently, on average, healthier.

There are a good number of sightings of black mountain lions; some in eastern USA but there is considerable doubt that these are genuine as it is difficult to ascertain size properly at a distance and in a fleeting moment.

This makes your sighting all the more interesting as it was at close range and the cat was it seems without doubt a black mountain lion.

See: Melanistic F4 Savannah cat for more and links to other pages on melanistic wild cats.

Thanks once again for sharing.

Michael Avatar

From I encountered a seven foot long oily black mountain lion to mountain lion tracks.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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