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Wee Black Beastie. What was it?

Driving home last night at dusk, about10,00pm, I saw an animal loping along the edge of the road, at the bottom of a bank.

In shape, size and movement it could have been a stoat or weasel but it was jet black. Do either of these animals have such definite colour breaks? I have seen jet black rabbits in the wild, presumably from domestic pets abandoned or escaped. It has just occurred to me that a ferret might be another possibility. I know we have a "black panther" roaming the countryside down here in darkest Cornwall, seen again quite recently but this one is definitely a very, very small panther! 



  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 17,116
  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 35,508
    Hello Joyce Goldenlily. It could very well have been a mink.
    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,256
    edited July 2018
    There are melanistic ferrets so I expect there are melanistic stoats too ... or could it have been an otter or a mnk ... mink can be quite dark.  

    Speaking of 'black panthers'  ... I have seen one ... very early one morning while travelling near Grantham Lincs ... it was black, large with a long low-swung tail ... it was moving through a field of straw bales (the old fashioned size not the huge ones) and was definitely bigger than a bale ... it was only about 25 -30 yards from the car I was in and it was definitely leopard in shape/build/outline.  I was totally gobsmacked.  

    I've been told it was a large domestic cat ... never in a million years ... it walked in front of a straw bale and was taller and longer ... I'm an artist and I understand perspective so I know what I saw.

    I've also been told it was a black labrador ... never in a million years ... I used to show keep and show black labs ... I know what I saw ... 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • B3B3 South East LondonPosts: 24,076
    There are several examples of 'exotic' escapees or animals released by irresponsible owners: parakeets, wallabies so why not panthers?
    Those morons who broke into a mink farm and released the animals have done untold damage to native wildlife.
    Mink farms are wrong, releasing minks into the wild is b##### stupid. 
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • BijdezeeBijdezee BPosts: 1,484
    We used to get mink coming to the gardens when I lived by the sea in kent. My cat was a maine coon, a large cat, and the only thing she avoided were Mink. Foxes, dogs etc she would see them off but Mink no. They are vicious beasties. 
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,293
    I once saw a mink's tail! When we first moved here, I had loads of plants in pots, that I had brought with me, as you do, standing outside on a gravel area.
    Went outside one day and was just in time to see a fluffy black tail disappear among the pots.
    The garden had been undisturbed for a while before we moved in and we have a little stream. Had also been told there were some mink around.
    I decided against investigating further, in case I found it, didn't want to meet a cornered mink!
    Some years later we lost several sheep to what we believe was a big cat. We never saw it, or found tracks, though we looked for them. The animals were killed and eaten, by a throat grip, a method apparently more cat than dog, but the rest of the flock were not worried or injured as they would have been by a dog/dogs.
    A couple  of animals were carried over a wire fence, which would have required some strength and agility.
    We did almost see it once perhaps. OH had to leave early for a meeting and we put the bedroom light on. I saw the victim in the field, a little later, still warm, its throat rippped out. Sent a shudder down my spine I can tell you!
    It was shortly after the 1986 act about exotic animals and we think someone released their 'pet' into the forest which neighbours our land. There were a number of big cat sightings at the time, though we hadn't really been aware of them before. Either it died or moved elsewhere, but eventually our sheep were left in peace.
  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 35,508
    Good grief Buttercupdays, that must have been a really upsetting nightmare for you. I am glad to hear that your sheep are now safe.
    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • Thank you everyone, I think it was very probably a mink, looking at the pic. Didn't think of mink.

    No one down here has been able to take a convincing pic. of the black panther, the last one was seen by someone who seemed reliable and understood what she saw. I guess one day someone will come face to face with one, cats are born survivor , unless it just dies out from lack of a partner. I have looked at pics of wild cats and have been struck how similar in markings my own moggy is so I assume our pets are not many steps away from wild cats. It doesn't take cats long to revert back to ferule behaviour if left to their own devices.

  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 35,508
    You are most welcome Joyce Goldenlily.
    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • LauraRoslinLauraRoslin Posts: 496
    A friend of mine has a cat that is longer when lying down than her 2-seater sofa.  It's a huge thing and completely black with orange eyes.   

    A new neighbour reported it to the local police station as a panther sighting.  The desk sergeant said 'Dinnae fash yerself, that's your neighbour's tom!'  

    They'd had a few reports over the years......
    I wish I was a glow worm
    A glow worm's never glum
    Cos how can you be grumpy
    When the sun shines out your bum!
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