A farmer near Maryville has spotted a large black animal several times and Tuesday night he caught it on camera.
Dennis Pierson isn’t for sure what has been crossing his path, but for the past month he’s been seeing what looks like a large black cat near his home about 12 miles northwest of Maryville. He wondered if he could be seeing a black panther.
“Here about a month ago my son and I were checking cows or something and we saw something black down on the pond and I said ‘look at that it looks bigger then a cat’,” Pierson said. “We got fairly close but we still weren’t really sure. It looked bigger then a cat. Then, probably about a week ago I saw it a long ways off in the distance and I was in the tractor and when it saw me it just squatted down and tried to hide. I didn’t go towards it I just stayed where I was.”
Pierson said Tuesday night, he saw the animal come out of a ditch about a quarter mile away from him while he was sitting in his pickup and was able to snap a few photos.
“It was probably 30 inches long or maybe longer and it probably stood up a foot or so,” he said.
We took Pierson’s photo and got a hold of Joe Jerek with the Missouri Department of Conservation. Jerek said that comparing the animal to the size of the nearby fence post and logs they think it’s likely just a large house cat.
“Mountain lions are much larger, about 5–8½ feet including a tail length of 21–37 inches and a weight: 79–265 pounds for males and about 65–140 pounds for females,” he said. “Also, there is no CONFIRMED evidence of a black mountain lion in all of north America. There have been reports of escaped or release black leopards, but those are very rare. This is not a black leopard either.”
The MDC said mountain lions, cougars, pumas, and panthers are all different names for the same animal. The MDC has its own Mountain Lion Response Team and encourages citizens to report sightings, physical evidence or other incidents so they can investigate. For more information on mountain lions and reporting sightings in Missouri CLICK HERE.