I saw a Florida panther in Marion Oaks, Florida

by Jonathan Figueroa
(Tampa FL.)

I know this sound unreal but me and one other person about 15 years ago each spotted a “Florida panther” in Marion Oaks, Florida in the western side of Marion County, Florida.

I know the difference between a panther and a bobcat. There are huge differences across the board as far as tail ,size and coloration among others.

I have seen enough bobcats growing up around Ocala National Forest to know what a bobcat looks like. This cat was about 5 or 6 feet long dark tawny color prob weighed about 120 pounds give or take.

I was picking up cans on the side of the road. I was 15 years old at the time and money was hard to come by. And there it was by the side of the road coming from some Oak Hammocks about 20 yards ahead of me it looked up and moved back into the woods.

I know you will not believe me and I am wasting my time but I saw what I saw!!!If it happened today I would have a picture. I also live in Tampa now so the chance of seeing one is zero. At the time of this story I lived on the outskirts of Ocala which was and parts are still very heavily wooded.

Jonathan Figueroa

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I saw a Florida panther in Marion Oaks, Florida

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Jul 07, 2011
Florida panter in Marion Oaks
by: Anonymous

I saw one in Marion Oaks, Florida too!!! Just this morning on may way to work. Crazy!

Jun 17, 2011
I saw one in Longwood, FL June 1st!
by: Deb

At 12:30 pm ET, I pulled out the car from our garage (next to small, mini woodsy area) and a 5ft. or greater Florida panther about 5 car lengths away sprang in full run across from one side of the road to the other to another section of woods — alongside a drainage ditch, apparently in hot pursuit of an animal. We used to have a lot of wild cats, but all but one have disappeared since that siting. It was fully grown though appeared young, lean and was more beige than golden with dark markings on it’s rounded ears, mouth/snout and feet. I clearly saw it’s rounded feet and ears and head. I have seen bobcats and lions (captive) before, so I know what I saw!

May 18, 2011
by: Michael

Hi, Jonathan. Thanks for sharing and taking the time to tell us about your Florida panther sighting. I completely believe you!


I saw a Florida panther in Marion Oaks, Florida — 25 Comments

  1. One came at me last week.I live in the Ocala national forest… This is the forth run in I’ve had with him. He was walking up the road in broad daylight and in an open field. He walked straight for us and not anything the dog or I did would deter him. We had to run in the house and he started to Trott faster

  2. I lived in Marion oaks from 1989 to 2000 and saw one near the Winn Dixie off a side road in 1998. Definitely a black panther

  3. I too have seen a pack of 3 panthers (2 large/1 small) in the area of Pine Eden – back area of Marion Oaks. My daughter also seen 3 by her house as well – we believe it was the same 3. Living in this area it seems like you never know what you are going to see. On Aug 17 2013 I stepped out of the house and right in front of me was a black bear – within 10 feet of me. The bear stood up, turned around and then walked away. Needless to say, I was quite startled – I went back inside, grabbed my camera and snapped few pictures of it. Today, Oct 10, 2013 I saw something I have never seen before. It was a very large solid black cat – about the size of a panther. It had taller back legs than the front legs, large head, had a long tail and height I would say was about to my knees. I’ve seen bobcats around this area before; but never black ones – and definately not the size of the cat I seen today. I’m putting up a trail camera to photograph the wildlife around here.

    • Hi Cathy, the reason why your comment was not published immediately is because comments from people who make a first comment are moderated. Thereafter all your comments will be published immediately.

      Thanks for commenting. Very interesting comment.

      If you have any photos please upload them into a fresh comment. I would love to see them.

          • No, it’s a wild bear. I have not contacted Game Commission as honestly, I don’t want the bear killed or relocated. I believe it is an older bear as you can see scars on it’s hide. Black bears are not known to attack humans as a general rule unless they are provoked. I personally believe it is us humans who cause more harm than the wild animals. We have moved into their territory. I don’t know what it is about where I live, but wildlife is extremely active and I love it as I never know what I’m going to see.

  4. I saw a Florida panther on August 13, 2013 at 4:30 pm on Highway 37 south of Mulberry, Florida. The big cat (I would say 100 lbs) ran in front of my car. I was able to slow and got within 20 feet or so. It had no collar and appeared healthy. It was close to the Mosaic phosphate mine sign area. The cat did not appear to be in a hurry and I got a very close view of it — most certainly a panther as I was raised in the country and have seen bobcats. This panther was tan/brown. I could not tell if it were male or female. Very privileged to see this big cat!

    • Great comment. I read that the main roads in Florida or one of the main roads that runs through the panther’s territory is the main killer of this rare wild cat. I don’t know if that is still true.

  5. I was driving home from work early one morning and cut through the sand mine road that East Marion Elementary is on. After I passed the sand mine I saw a large tanish animal leaping through the shrubs on the side of the road. My first thought was that it was a deer which is a very common sight on that road but then I noticed the long cat-like tail! I tried to follow it but it eventually bounded into the woods. It was definitely a super large cat, roughly the size of a deer so it couldn’t have been a bobcat. The only thing I can think is that it was a Florida Panther but the odds of that are so astronomical that I still can’t believe I was lucky enough to see one!

      • I saw one run across Hwy 40 by Red Water Lake which backs over to Sand Mine Rd. a few years ago. Last night I had one in my yard. I live on the National Forest line. I usually have a very large older black bear running around. I have seen many critters in my yard and even had otters in my canal back when there was water in it.

  6. I saw a black panther three nights ago in Silver Spring Shores (SE OCALA) off Pine Trace. The Sheriff’s department gave me a toll free number to wildlife and they told me it was impossible and probably just a large cat. I kid you not, these people are in denial. I have never seen a “cat” that was probably 100 pounds with a tail so large and long walking along the side of the road not scared of car lights. If a black panther is so rare, then it must have been a panther that was black! Smh. I’ve lived here most of my life and have never seen such an animal…I can tell you I won’t be out at night anymore. SCARY!

    • This may be a melanistic cougar. They are sometimes referred to as “black panthers”. Normally black panther refers to a black jaguar or leopard but there are none of those in Florida. Cougars are quite shy cats and don’t attack people unless there is some odd reason for it. They can scared off. You are lucky to have seen it 😉

  7. I saw a Panther West of Ross Prairie Trailhead in the Area of Marian Oaks February 2013.
    It crossed the two track ahead of me while I was Mountain biking West of highway 200 near Ross Prairie Campground.I have not been back there since.

    • One came at me last week.I live in the Ocala national forest… This is the forth run in I’ve had with him. He was walking up the road in broad daylight and in an open field. He walked straight for us and not anything the dog or I did would deter him. We had to run in the house and he started to Trott faster

  8. My fiance says he seen one this morning about 1/4 mile from the quick king. He says it was about 4-5 ft and about 125lbs. Hmmm maybe he wasnt crazy!

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