A year after launching a online site for Florida panther sightings, state wildlife officials are finding the data useful, even if the occasional report turns out to be a fox — or even a monkey.
Yes, a monkey.
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How to spot a Florida panther
- Identify the cat: Florida panthers are large, tawny-colored cats. Adults are 6-7 feet long. Adult females weigh 70 to 100 pounds. Full-grown males, 100 to 160 pounds.
- Look for kittens: Panther kittens have spots at birth. The spots vanish its first birthday.
- Look for prints: Endangered panthers are solitary, scarce and elusive, but they can leave fresh tracks behind that can be valuable to wildlife biologists tracking their whereabouts. Panthers leave no claw imprints in front of the toes when they’re walking. The front edge of the heel pad is squared. The rear edge of the heel pad has three lobes.
- Document what you see: Photos of panthers and/or their tracks are needed to verify that it’s a Florida panther. Remote game cameras are best, but even a phone photo can be used.
- Don’t approach a panther: If you are lucky enough to see a panther in the wild, don’t g3et closer to get a better photo.
- Report what you see: Note the time, date and location of the panther (or track) sighting. Report the find at www.myfwc.com/PantherSightings. Additional comments can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org