British Big Cats

Posted in Weird Animals


There are no officially recognised extant species of big cat in the British Isles. Even the Scottish Wildcat - the snarling icon of the glens - is now thought to be little more than a species of feral cat exaggerated only slightly in size from their domestic relatives. What then to make of the continuous reports that pour in of leopards, pumas and even lions seen in every corner of the country?

Unlike their spectral canine cousins, the Alien Big Cats of Britain play coquettishly with reality - allowing themselves to be captured in film and photographs, leaving hairs and footprints and even on occasion venturing to kill unwary livestock.

Are they, as some suspect, exotic pets turned loose in response to legislation and the demands of keeping such a beast in the home? Or perhaps they are something more exotic still - a kind of phantasm akin to the more mysterious and rarely seen black dogs of folklore. Or maybe the dry, official response of misidentification is nearer the mark.

But even so, enough carcasses of both beast and prey have come to light down the years to make it clear that at least some of these cats are very much real. Where they came from, how they live, how they evade detection and what - if any - meaning they bring to us remain mysteries.

Attempts - such as those made by the British Big Cats Trigger Camera group - continue to be made to capture final evidence for the existence of these maddeningly elusive felines.

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