Tag Archives: Melanistic Bobcats

Black Bobcats – Reports Near and Far

As we approach the end of 2021, I’ve been looking back. Amazingly enough, I have been writing my blog “Indian River Lagoon,” since 2013. I have now written over one-thousand posts and one of the most popular is not about toxic algae, Lake Okeechobee, or even the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. One of my top posts is about black bobcats -properly called, melanistic bobcats.

I wrote my first black bobcat post in 2014 specifically about the high documentation in my home of Martin County, Florida. Since then, many readers have contacted me about melanistic bobcat sightings outside of Martin County. Most recently, two more from Georgia.

Today, I share these two reports, one from 2019 and the other from 2021. These special creatures are a rare sight to see and of unforgettable beauty.


The gorgeous photograph of the melanistic bobcat above was taken in Georgetown, Georgia, in 2019. I learned about the sighting this December at a baby christening in Stuart, Florida. Mrs Kight was nice enough to find the photo and send to me after we got on the subject of all things -black bobcats!


This next photo, above, is a screen shot of a “doorbell” black bobcat -2021- sighting in Waleska, Georgia. CLICK HERE TO VIEW VIDEO OF BLACK BOBCAT.

Mr Kaiser, of Waleska, Georgia, who sent the doorbell video, wrote interesting observations included below.

Mr Kaiser:  “Greetings. We live in north Georgia on the east side of Pine Log Mtn. Have recent video of what could to be a melanistic bobcat in our front yard. We have seen it twice and saved on Ring video. Would like to share it with you and your thoughts. Thanks.”

JTL: “Dear Mr Kaiser, I am so glad you contacted me. I can’t wait to see the video of this incredible creature. Please send.” 

Mr Kaiser: “Hi Jacqui. Wondering if you got the brief video and thoughts. I took down 2 Ring cameras today (temporarily) while they were cleaning up our yard. When I went back outside I saw the animal walking right down the middle of our quiet street. (that gets maybe 12 cars a day). The animal looked at me briefly and it appeared to have yellowish/greenish eyes. It looked all black with apparently no charcoal or grey. It had a knob for a tail and the upper hind legs looked a little bigger. We do have a few neighbors as we live in the higher elevation end of our community and so far no one has identified it as a pet or seen it before. Thanks.”

JTL: “I did receive. Thank you so much. What a creature to behold and see eye to eye! Where do you live?”

Mr Kaiser: “We live in Waleska GA (Cherokee County) in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mtns. and on the east side of Pine Log and Bear Mountain.  Please feel free to share this information on your blog. My wife and I are surrounded with all this fascinating wildlife and this is so educational studying their seasonal habits. Any information you can share would be appreciated and likewise I can certainly pass on to you with updated pictures/ video clips. This is our 3rd sighting of this animal and we don’t know bobcat habits. When it walked by yesterday it looked at me briefly but didn’t stop or act afraid or defensive. That is when I got a split second look at the eyes.”

JTL: “This is so amazing. Thank you so much for sharing and letting me share! Tell me more!”

Mr Kaiser: “We set this Ring camera up to video the black bears that visit us. Never seen this before and shared with 2 wildlife experts. I do have another separate video and would like your take. Both sightings were midday and have the camera mounted on the front porch hopefully for more views. It appears to have a firmer walking stance on the hind legs. Also have pictures and videos of our visiting black bear. We have various animals that live and roam our property including a fun to watch fox family. If you think this video is of interest I can keep you updated.”

JTL: “Please do. ! I hope in the future to see more including bears and foxes. Love the wildlife, especially the melanistic bobcat, people are really fascinated by them. A mythical creature indeed!”

Thank you to Mrs Kight and Mr Kaiser for sharing and I hope more people, inside or outside of Florida, will tell of their black bobcat sightings too!




2. https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2016/04/21/two-black-bobcat-cubs-and-mom-happily-strolling-around-western-martin-county-slrirl/

3. https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2017/02/24/black-bobcat-hit-by-car-in-sebring-please-drive-with-care-slrirl/

Black Bobcat Hit by Car in Sebring; Please Drive with Care! SLR/IRL



The photo below of was shared by my friend, and UF NRLI class member, Florida Wildlife Commission, senior wildlife biologist, Angeline Scotten. Angeline was recently called to Sebring, located northwest of Lake Okeechobee, to identify an unusual and beautiful canine hit by car, a black bobcat. Black bobcats, more properly called “melanistic,” are often reported as “black panthers.”

Melanism, like albinism, is a rare genetic trait that few are able to witness…in the photo below we can see the cat’s unique coloring in the sunlight.

This remarkable creature is one of thousands of animals killed on Florida’s highways every year. I am posting this photo in hopes that by seeing it, somehow it may will help save the life of another. Please drive carefully looking out for bobcats and the rest of God’s creatures!

Melanistic bobcat hit by car in Sebring, Fl. Photo shared by FWC’s Angeline Scotten 2/17.

*Thank you to Angeline Scotten for sharing this photograph.


[mel-uh-niz-uh m]
Zoology. the condition in which an unusually high concentration of melanin occurs in the skin, plumage, or pelage of an animal.


Various links on melanistic bobcat sightings in South Florida: http://tibba.net/post/black-panther-is-the-melanistic-color-variant-of-any-panthera-species



Maeher: Melanistic Bobcats in Florida

Nature in Harbour Ridge

Former blog posts on black bobcats:

The Black Bobcats of the St Lucie Region and Indian River Lagoon

Two Black Bobcat Cubs and Mom–Happily Strolling Around Western Martin County, SLR/IRL


Black Bobcat cubs following mother in Western Martin County on 4-11-16. Shared by Busch Wildlife Center, Jupiter Florida.
Black bobcat cubs following their mother in western Martin County on 4-11-16. Shared by Exec. Dir. David Hitzig, Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, Jupiter Florida.
mom bobcat…
two black cubs!
two black bobcat juvenile cubs! 

Martin County’s theme is “Our Good Nature.” We have kept some of it, unlike so many other counties in the state of Florida. I grew up appreciating this. My mother and father used to bring home injured animal for my sister, Jenny, my brother, Todd, and me to care for when we were growing up in Stuart in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. I was taught never to be afraid of wild animals,  but to respect them.

One of my favorite fascinations with local wildlife is the black, or “melanistic,”  bobcats of western Martin County. I have written before about this local genetic phenomenon. In fact, it is one of my all time most popular posts. Indeed, there are more reports of black bobcats or “black panthers” occur right here, especially around Lake Okeechobee and the St Lucie Canal, than anywhere else in the state!

Yesterday, my friend and UF NRLI classmate, FWC biologist Angeline Scotten– who was in town to give a coyote presentation for Sewall’s Point and Martin County, took me to visit Busch Wildlife Sanctuary and to meet her mentor– of animal-fame– David Hitzig, Busch Wildlife’s long time executive director. I was totally impressed. What an amazing place. You must visit! http://www.buschwildlife.org

Early on in the conversation I told Mr Hitzig that for whatever reason, although an animal fan, I had never visited Busch Wildlife Sanctuary—but that I had written about a black bobcat that was documented to be at the sanctuary after being trapped near the St Lucie Canal in Western Martin County. This bobcat had been eating somebody’s chickens.

Excitedly, Mr Hitzig noted that yes, the melanistic bobcat had been at the center a few years ago, and was released. He also shared that just this month, April 2016,  there had been reports of not one, but two, black bobcat cubs walking behind their mother; he later shared this rare and awesome photo.

What a sight! Two black bobcat cubs strolling happily along behind their mother in western Martin County. I love this place. Don’t you?


Former post on black bobcat that was temporarily at Busch Wildlife Sanctuary: https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2014/03/07/the-black-bobcats-of-the-st-lucie-region-and-indian-river-lagoon/

Black Bobcat cubs following mother in Western Martin County on 4-11-16. Shared by Busch Wildlife Center, Jupiter Florida.
Black Bobcat cubs following mother in Western Martin County on 4-11-16. Shared by Busch Wildlife Center, Jupiter Florida.


Correction to blog 🙂 Just after completing this post, I just received  an email from David Hitzig of Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, and this black bobcat cub photo was taken in Okeechobee, a western neighbor to Martin County not Martin County itself as I thought when I wrote this! Certainly there are no boarders for the cats and Okeechobee and Martin are side by side “out west.” See map below. Wanted to note for the record. jacqui

"County lines are for people not cats...." nonetheless most black bobcats reports of the state have been in the area of western Martin County  "whose "western edge boarders Okeechobee County.
“County lines are for people not cats….” nonetheless most black bobcats reports of the state have been in the area of western Martin County  “whose “western edge boarders Okeechobee County.


Thank you Mr David Hitzig for sharing this marvelous photo.

Thank you to FWC Angeline Scotten from UF NRLI Class XV for taking me to the Busch Wildllife Sanctuary and for her excellent coyote presentation for the Town of Sewall’s Point: http://nrli.ifas.ufl.edu

The Black Bobcats of the St Lucie Region and Indian River Lagoon

Melanistic bobcat caught in Martin County (Photo Busch Wildlife Center)
Captured melanistic bobcat from Martin County (Photo courtesy of Busch Wildlife Center, 2007) 

The Martin County Difference” is an expression that one often hears from locals that means exactly what it says, “things are different here…”

Not only are the different, they are exceptional. We have the beautiful St Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon, a four story height limit, a strong urban service boundary, great public schools,  a strong fertilizer ordinance, public beaches and black bobcats…

When I was a kid growing up in Stuart, one sometimes heard stories from the kids that lived in Indiantown or Palm City about “black panthers.” And someone who had seen them would swear on their mother’s grave this to be true. Supposedly these stories had been around for many, many years coming down from parents and grandparents.

More recently in 2008, my first year on the Sewall’s Point commission, the town had  at least  three “normally colored” bobcats and multiple kittens. The sightings were very exciting but scared some residents who had moved here  from up north so I started reading about bobcats in great detail. Eventually we had Dan Martinelli of the Treasure Coast Wildlife Center speak before the commission and things calmed down but my fascination with these beautiful creatures did not.

I talked about bobcats a lot during this time and in the course of a discussion, one of my husband’s physician friends who lived in Palm City, with great excitement told a story of  seeing a black bobcat in Palm City walk across his yard. That same year one of the Guatemalan landscape workers in the town, knowing I loved animals, struggled wide eyes to tell me about the black panther he had seen walking along a fence, close to Lake Okeechobee and the St Lucie Canal, that he had seen while fishing with his son.

According to my reading there have been more reports of melanistic bobcats in Martin County than anywhere else in the country, mostly near the area of the St Lucie Canal, Lake Okeechobee and Loxahatchee.

If you want to find these reports, google “melanistic bobcats martin.” These posts are not entirely scientific but they are documented. They say there have been sightings for the past 80 years.

Although I never seen a black bobcat, popular lore says the exist, I believe it, and it’s certainly better documented than Sasquatch who many of my high school friends claimed to see too.

What an incredible place to live! The “Martin County Difference!”


According to the Florida Wildlife Commission black panthers  do not exist  but black bobcats do!

FLORIDA PANTHERS:(http://www.fws.gov/floridapanther/panther_faq.html) 

FLORIDA BOBCATS:(http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/profiles/mammals/land/bobcat/)