Rare black bobcat confirmed in Canada

A mysterious photo appeared on Facebook showing what looked to be a solid black bobcat caught in a snare and dispatched by a trapper. The photo came with no hints of time, place or other details and was being posted in various places disconnected from a source. You could not see the hands of the person holding it, the face of the trapper was not shown, and only one photo was available. Black (melanistic) bobcats are extremely rare. So, I checked image searchers to find the source of the picture. No results. Suspicious of the photo, I sent some feeds out to those who may know more about it.

The photo as displaced on Facebook.

Karl Shuker’s Facebook group Animal Discoveries & Curiosities was the first source I saw the photo but it was a repost from someone else who reposted from someplace else. Always trace back! With no info to go on, I let it ride. Today, Dr. Shuker supplied me with the confirmation.

CBC News reported the story.

Oswald McFadden trapped a rare black bobcat on Christmas Day near Cocagne, in southeastern New Brunswick

The photo from Facebook, likely aided by the fact that it came with little additional info attached, became hoax fodder according to the hunter. He said the circulated photo is said to depict the animal captured in other locations. But the animal was tagged and confirmed and there is no doubt as to its identification. The cat, like black leopards or jaguars, has an overabundance of dark coloration in the coat but characteristic spots can still be seen under bright light. Therefore, these black cats are not entirely black, just heavily pigmented. Black cats are often reportedly sighted, and a common myth is that black panthers are cougars (pumas, mountain lions). Cougars are not known to be black. Most sightings of “big black cats” are large housecats as can be seen in several cases we’ve shared on this site. But some may be bobcats, especially in the south. (Bobcats are signifcantly smaller than cougars.) Black bobcats are indeed very rare, with only about a dozen or so ever recorded (that I could find). Most have been found in Florida but another was caught in Canada. It is more likely that where there is one, that’s where you are more likely to find others due to this being a genetic propensity.

It was a very interesting find.


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  1 comment for “Rare black bobcat confirmed in Canada

  1. Bob Jase
    December 28, 2016 at 1:54 PM

    Interesting indeed – I suppose any cat, even a mountain lion can be melanistic.

    But bringing it in alive would have been worth more than the pelt can bring so…?

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