Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wakulla WMA Photo

This low-resolution photo, taken at a distance by Jane Morgan on March 29, 2013 in the Wakulla (FL) Wildlife Management Area near St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, shows what appears to be a small-headed cat of moderate size. Mike Morgan, Fire Chief at Wakulla County Fire Rescue, posted this and others to his Facebook page. Mike thought it was a Florida panther, but in profile this animal subjectively aligns more with jaguarundi than panther, bobcat, or house cat. Not the smoking gun we're looking for, but certainly one of the more interesting photos that have surfaced in recent times.

Note that this USFWS brochure (PDF) on the adjacent St. Marks NWR lists the jaguarundi along with feral hog as non-native mammals on the refuge.


  1. Intriguing shot. I just conducted a scientific study by googling images of sitting jaguarundis. It seems as though jaguarundi front legs are too short for them to be sitting upright at this angle and have their paws on the ground. This pose reminds me more of a sitting rabbit then a jaguarundi. So, I think house cat.

  2. I saw one yesterday in the Lake Nona area of Orlando. Had to search online to figure out what is was.

  3. Maybe 10 years ago - the internet wasn't what it is today - I saw a pair of jaguarundis on the peninsula in Daytona Beach - just a couple of blocks from Main Street no less. I didn't know what they were and contacted UF to help me ID. I was walking my dog at dawn. The first sighting was one, the second time it was a pair. They ran up trees when they saw us.

  4. Hi. We run a small camera trap project in Costa Rica. This past fall(2013) we had several jaguarundi pass through the property. We got a number of them on camera. I know they were not from the US, but the images and video may me of use for comparative purposes. Here is a video.
    And at a still here:


    1. Great video, and apologies for taking so long to reply. Have not been tending this blog as closely as I would like. Think I will feature it in the next post! Really appreciate you sharing.

  5. I opened our front door this morning to see if any of the stray cats in the neighborhood were hanging out on the porch, when something at the end of my neighbor’s drive caught my eye.

    I was shocked at first I thought bobcat, then my brain was like no young mountain lion, then my eyes were like nope... this large cat was a dark red. To large for a house cat and the head and ears were all wrong to be a mountain lion or black panther. Then I thought fox, but nothing about it was remotely fox like.

    I have seen in person all these animals and so has my husband, I quickly got him to the door to take a look (more a sanity check for myself because this was just the strangest cat I’ve ever seen).

    We both were like what the heck is that??!!! After watching it casually cross the road and disappear into the tall grass and cross underneath the fence. I googled “large red cats in Tennessee and could not believe it, there was a photo of exactly what I had been starring at. More astonishing, I never had heard of this cat. So to actually see it was AMAZING!

    I have also seen one time and one time only a civic cat. I had to ask my dad what in the world it could have been and he was like... oh that was just an old civic cat. Don’t see’em as much as you use to.

    Now black panthers, I’ve seen 3 over my 52 years. Mountain lions 4 times. All right here in Tennessee. I love running across these big animals, but I’ve been very lucky in not having to be face to face and hope I’m never that close. Because these things are NOT kitty kats you should try to play with.

    So excited to have witnessed a jaguarundi in middle Tennessee!!!