December 15, 2007 at 10:18am
'Melanism' is an increased amount of black or nearly black pigmentation (as of skin, feathers, or hair) of an organism, resulting from the presence of melanin.
While there are reports of black jaguars from S.America, there has never been a documented black cougar anywhere.
Rumors and 'eye witness' reports have been rampant for generations.........yet nobody has ever seen one while they have a camera or a gun!!
About 30 years ago, some rumors got started of cougars killing people here in WNC.......they were always called 'black panthers' as if black animals are more eerie or deadly than tan or gray animals.
Nobody ever saw the 'killings' so how did they know it was black???
Nobody was reported as missing.
Apparently a black panther eats the entire body including bones, leather boots, wallets, and all the clothing........hmmmmm!
Now, I would love to believe that we have cougars in the Eastern US. If there are some here, there is always the possibility that a cougar could have dark gray fur and look black in poor light just like a deer can look darker at times.
I would never question what someone else says they've seen........I wasn't there. I just wonder if it's not a case of local legend or myth........or mis-identification.