January 2012

Wild Cats of the Prehistoric Era

"If you thought they were big now, you should have seen them back then."

 Although some people keep them as pets, wild cats are quite scary to most.  They are not something we would ever want to encounter on a day out.  They are strong and silent, with intimidating size, making them an exceptional predator.  If you thought they were big now, you should have seen them back then.  Yes, wild cats were around even when there were dinosaurs.  I have gathered some information on a few, so we can see how they are similar yet different to our wild cats today.  Proof that evolution is so real and amazing.
  1. Xenosmilus.  The Xenosmilus was quite the beast.  Of course, it was a carnivore, and boy it liked to make its victims suffer. Its general technique for eating was to take a bite out of its victim and let it bleed to death before eating it.  Alot more suffering was involved for those who fell prey to it, as opposed to today's cats who simply attack and eat.  The Xenosmilus was anywhere from 400-500 pounds with the same stature of today's lions.  The only difference was that it was more muscular and had a more powerful neck.  Remains for this cat have been found in Florida.  It is unknown when it went extinct.
  2. Giant Jaguar.  The Giant Jaguar was a bit smaller than other cats, as it weighed in at approximately 130 pounds, but could reach weights of up to 300.  It was very similar to today's jaguar, only much larger, stronger and more intimidating.  There were two species of this Jaguar.  One was the Panthera onca augusta, which was in North America.  The other is Panthera onca messembrina.  It is believed that the Giant Jaguar went extinct approximately 11,000 years ago.

Mountain Lions in Pennsylvania?

Are you a believer?

Mountain Lions are wild cats, which are also known by the names, Puma, Cougar and Catamount.  Mountain Lions most famously roam Florida,  the Western United States, South America and Canada.  They used to be common throughout the United States; however, the love of hunting in the Eastern United States has caused them to migrate in order to preserve themselves. 

I, myself, believe that Mountain Lions are still somewhat present in Pennsylvania, and probably other states as well.  I live in Pennsylvania and I never would have imagined having a Mountain Lion in town until recently.  I live in a home with woods out in the backyard.  They are thick and I am sure there is wildlife in them.  It is not uncommon to see deer, domestic cats and groundhogs in my yard from time to time.  However, one evening I was in my kitchen cooking and I caught a glimpse of something out back which appeared to be a huge cat.  I never told my husband, because he would for sure think I was crazy.  It looked to large to be a deer and the tail was different from that of a deer.  As soon as I saw it, that was how fast it ran, so I can only speculate that it was  a Mountain Lion or other large cat.  I went on to learn about this topic and did not find much, but I am glad to share what I did find.