Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 19th, 2006
Local officials in Nashville, after viewing video (see update below) showing the mystery cat in Warner Park, has identified the felid as an African caracal (above) or an Eurasin lynx, according to the Tennessean. Not a cougar. There seems to be a bit more of a push to the caracal theory than any other.
However, perhaps the wildlife officials have come up with a bit more exotic explanation than they should have? As one comment at the newspaper site reveals:
I have viewed the video of the cat in Warner Park shown on Channel 4 TV news. It is definetly a Eurasian lynx and not an African Caracal. The caracal is quite a different looking cat and has a much larger tail than a lynx. This cat has a small tail which curls upward while a Caracal has a tail about a foot long which hangs downward. A caracal could not curl its tail upward if it tried. The ears are also quite distinctive of a lynx whereas caracal has larger ears with much longer ear tufts. The Eurasian lynx is not native to this area so it is obviously an escaped pet. While a caracal is not well suited to Tennesse winter weather, the lynx would find our winters mild. If it has not been declawed it should have little trouble hunting food in the park. While the Eurasian lynx is the largest of the lynxes and is capable of bringing down a deer, they are not at all aggresive to people so this cat poses no danger.
I must ask: Why not a Canadian lynx? Maybe it’s a rather large male tom bobcat?
I look forward to posting a captured image from the Nashville (cats) video here (which I am certain a helpful Cryptomundo correspondent will email soon), so I can make a more informed guess.
In the meantime, I want to thank Joan Woodward for sending along a message that there’s been a third reported sighting of a big mystery cat in the general Andrews AFB area outside of Washington, D.C., since April 27, 2006.
The first two images below are from the video taken of the Tennessee Mystery Cat; the bottom two are of comparative photos of a captive caracal.
In general, lynx have a black tip on their tail and bobcat have black bands and spots on their body. However, the spotted fur on lynx and bobcat is infrequently rather plain in some specimens. Here is a photograph (below) of an Ohio bobcat. The state of Ohio is located just north of Tennessee.