A Washington County resident was stunned earlier this month by the sight of a large cat creature walking through the garden. The quick-thinking eyewitness grabbed a cellphone and began snapping photos, the best of which you see here. The animal moved quickly and was gone.
There have been many reports of such sightings near Chipley in recent years, but no one has managed to get daylight photos of the animal. We call it a “cat creature” because wildlife authorities say that there are no big cats in the Florida Panhandle other than bobcats. Whatever this animal was, however, it was no bobcat.
The eyewitness reported that the cat had a head that was between the size of a grapefruit and a cantaloupe and that the tail was long and fluffy and appeared to be about as big around as a softball. The face was tan.
The sighting comes on the heels of a similar animal being caught on a trail cam near Milton in Santa Rosa County. (Please see What cat creature is stalking the Florida Panhandle?).
The difference between the two sightings is primarily that the Chipley animal definitely had a tail that is clearly visible in the photos. The distance and speed with which the animal moved left the photos a little bit blurry, but we’ve enhanced them as best we could to help you get a better idea of the cat’s appearance.
So what is it? A Jaguarundi? A Florida Panther? Something else? Your thoughts are welcome! If you have seen a similar animal or, better yet, have photos of one, please let us know by using the contact form at the bottom of this page.
Here are some additional photos of the animal:
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