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Author Topic: British Mystery Big Cats
Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Here's a Guardian article about the shot lynx:

Norfolk - where the wild things are

Not particularly serious and it's based on the same facts as in the BBC article (although laid out more clearly). It does point out that in the area of the shooting there is a Great Witchingham wildlife park that breeds lynxes, though!

quote:
The park did not return my calls yesterday, and there is no suggestion it is the source of Norfolk's big cats. But that doesn't stop my mum from wondering.

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Andrew of Ware, England
A-Ware in a Manger


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There are many references to 'black dogs' in the folklore of England. It sometimes goes under the name 'Pad Paw' or similar. Besides the Yorkshire example bunnyhugger gives, there is the Black Dog at Blythburgh in Suffolk. It is described as being as large as a small pony with flaming red eyes. It once appeared in a church service there during a thunderstorm and reputedly killed three people.

On another occasion it clawed at one of the doors of the church. It's claws left scorch marks on the door and ... (cue 'X Files' music) ... the burnt claw marks can still be seen to this day.

ETA: this page (the door photographs are the seventh line down)

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Andrew, Ware, England

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yugyug
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by candy from strangers with bird flu:
Canuckistan, I get the feeling yugyug isn't really intending to return to our lovely board.

Ok I came back to this thread. Sorry it took so long. 6 months.....?

As for my post.... well, here is a thread on the mystery of big cats, and I happened to have a picture of a big fat cat ......?!
Hey guys, stop taking things so seriously!

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yugyug.com
guykeulemans.com

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biol-nerd
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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here in Victoria, Aust, there is a legend of a sole black panther or similar living in the Grampians (a small mountain range full of tourists most of the year). The same rumour has been circulating for at least 20 years. Perhaps black cats (domestic) do partake in a wierd optical illusion all over the world? A year or two ago a guy actually claimed to have shot it but conveniently buried the remains so no-one could check them.

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truth and beauty

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Llewtrah
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Perspective and poor light plays weird tricks with black cats. My old black moggy could look pantherlike in proportions at dusk when distance was hard to judge.

I'm constantly amazed at the gullibility of some mystery cat "followers". They WANT to believe and will constantly ignore genetics, optical effects and the possibility of their own inexperience in identifying big cats. I gave up reading Fortean Times on mystery big cats because its idea of "open minded" meant the magazine was insufficiently critical of the "evidence".

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I was photographing bats last night, and looming in the shadows of a house and garden wall, above my head, crept the dark shape of a cat possibly four feet long. I thought for two seconds that I was gonna have to return to this thread myself and eat my words (also, get rich selling the pictures I was about to snap!) but the bloody cat was behind me on another wall and I was transfixed by it's shadow cast from another light source [lol]

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This is where I come up with something right? Something really clever...

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Andrew of Ware, England
A-Ware in a Manger


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quote:
Originally posted by Llewtrah:
Perspective and poor light plays weird tricks with black cats. My old black moggy could look pantherlike in proportions at dusk when distance was hard to judge.

I'm constantly amazed at the gullibility of some mystery cat "followers". They WANT to believe and will constantly ignore genetics, optical effects and the possibility of their own inexperience in identifying big cats. I gave up reading Fortean Times on mystery big cats because its idea of "open minded" meant the magazine was insufficiently critical of the "evidence".

Whilst I like 'Fortean Times' idea of not accepting anything without definite evidence I do agree that they could analyse the evidence more. As far as I know all the big cats shot in Britain recently have a 'known provenance' (e.g. zoo and circus escapees). Evidence for breeding groups (as some people claim exist) is still lacking.

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Andrew, Ware, England

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Waby
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I have seen a big cat. I dont care who beleives me. It is rare to see one but they are out there. And no, it wasnt a domestic cat, big dog or were wolf as it was about 10 foot away from me. I dont get why people would be suprised that they exist as we have always known and its not some big mystery. Some have escaped, some have been dumped. They live quiet, shy lives away from people and they need to be left alone as they havent done anything wrong. I have never heard of them killing stock where i live either. Why anyone would want to report the incident to a journalist is beyond me. They would simply organise a witch hunt and have its dead carcass displayed through the village surrounded by burning torches, a film crew and an angry mob.
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Barns & No Bull
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Waby:

I have seen a big cat. I dont care who beleives me.... And no, it wasnt a domestic cat, big dog or were wolf as it was about 10 foot away from me...

If you play these games here, you are in for a rough ride.

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The Pikey Snow Queen
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Waby:
I have seen a big cat. I dont care who beleives me. It is rare to see one but they are out there.

I don't think anyone is denying there may be big cats out there. The question is whether it would be possible to sustain a breeding population.

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Brosandi. Hendumst hringi
Hldumst hendur
Allur heimurinn skr
Nema stendur

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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quote:
I have seen a big cat.
Don't tell me, you didn't have a camera right? And nobody else saw it, or at least they didn't have cameras either, and there was no way you could tell anybody, the RSCPA, the local media, passers by, because you didn't have a mobile phone either - you just saw a big cat and like 'everybody' else who's seen one you don't have a shred of evidence? Right?

quote:
Why anyone would want to report the incident to a journalist is beyond me.
...because they'd give you enough money to buy a new car that's why [lol]

Jeez, the arrival of a tiny rare bird in the UK, one bird amongst many many millions, and the media are there, birders by the drove - yet your big cat curiously walks the shadows undisturbed by the teeming population of our overcrowded Island. You may not care if anybody believes you Waby but with a case as weak as yours i'd be surprised if many people even listen...

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This is where I come up with something right? Something really clever...

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Dara bhur gCara
As Shepherds Watched Their Flocks Buy Now Pay Later


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quote:
Originally posted by Waby:
I have seen a big cat. I dont care who beleives me. It is rare to see one but they are out there. And no, it wasnt a domestic cat, big dog or were wolf as it was about 10 foot away from me. I dont get why people would be suprised that they exist as we have always known and its not some big mystery.



Welcome to the board, Waby. The laws of probability would suggest that the likelihood of us discussing two things which actually happened to you are quite slim. Not calling you a liar or anything, but these are both fairly unusual things to happen to someone, and for them both to have happened to you is certainly a turn up for the books.

You'll find, however, that "this really happened to me, I can't prove it, but this really happened to me, honest" isn't really given that much credence in our sceptical, evidence-based community. Particularly when it happens so shortly into their time on the board. You see, one of the regrettable things about a message-board devoted, at least in theory, to the study of Urban Legends, is that people join specifically for the purpose of propounding Urban Legends, so we tend to give people making astonishing claims with nary a shred of evidence to back them up rather short shrift.

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This wrinkle in time, I can't give it no credit, I thought about my space and it really got me down.
Got me so down, I got me a headache, My heart is crammed in my cranium and it still knows how to pound


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Billy Biggles
Deck the Malls


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Originally posted by Waby:

quote:
They live quiet, shy lives away from people and they need to be left alone as they havent done anything wrong.
That's either badgers or poicemen you've got there son, and in either case they can transmit diseases to you, so go garshly.

quote:
Why anyone would want to report the incident to a journalist is beyond me. They would simply organise a witch hunt and have its dead carcass displayed through the village surrounded by burning torches, a film crew and an angry mob.
Nothing wrong with hauling journalists around the village. Round here we make our own entertainment.
The carcass would have to be dead, otherwise it wouldn't be a carcass, although in the case of the journalist we're prepared to settle for tortured and bleeding.

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Cogito ergo sum, non sum qualis eram. Putting Descartes before the Horace every time.

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Billy Biggles
Deck the Malls


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Corrigendum: Pro 'poicemen' supra, videatur 'policemen' passim. Cucullus non facit monachum, et ne illegitimis carborundum.

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Cogito ergo sum, non sum qualis eram. Putting Descartes before the Horace every time.

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Elwood
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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I will say that there is something about black cats that makes them appear bigger than they are. I honestly had trouble believing the numbers when the vet weighed and measured my black domestic cat. He looks so much bigger than his brother, but he's really of comparable size and weight.

OTOH, most cats being crepuscular and all, people aren't often awake and in a wooded area when such creatures would be up and about. I would think somebody would find some evidence eventually, but if it's just one escapee, it could hang around for quite a while before anyone found it.

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"If I didn't see it and didn't know it was a real news report, I wouldn't believe it. I mean, how nutty can you get?"-Pat Robertson Oct 26, 2006.

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Barns & No Bull
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Pikey Queen:

quote:
Originally posted by Waby:
I have seen a big cat. I dont care who beleives me. It is rare to see one but they are out there.

I don't think anyone is denying there may be big cats out there. The question is whether it would be possible to sustain a breeding population.
PQ, I don't know exactly what you mean by this, but it may be confusing to some. The question is not strictly about wild big cats breeding in the UK, but rather about whether there are any living in the wild at all. There is no good evidence to support this.

A big cat is something like a leopard, jaguar, lion, tiger or puma. Few would say that these cats couldn't scrounge out a wild life in the British Isles. They certainly wouldn't have the same prey nor populations of prey that would be found in their native regions. But other than anecdote, eyewitness accounts, pawprints (that turn out to be not big cat) and dead or injured livestock (that turn out to be attributable to other attackers), we have no kind of evidence for their presence.

Never mind a breeding population, we don't really know if there are any individual big wild cats in the UK.

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The Pikey Snow Queen
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Barns & No Bull:
quote:
Originally posted by Pikey Queen:

quote:
Originally posted by Waby:
I have seen a big cat. I dont care who beleives me. It is rare to see one but they are out there.

I don't think anyone is denying there may be big cats out there. The question is whether it would be possible to sustain a breeding population.
PQ, I don't know exactly what you mean by this, but it may be confusing to some. The question is not strictly about wild big cats breeding in the UK, but rather about whether there are any living in the wild at all. There is no good evidence to support this.
I fear I may have posted when I was delirious from the flu. Having reread it, it makes very little sense.

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Brosandi. Hendumst hringi
Hldumst hendur
Allur heimurinn skr
Nema stendur

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Xia
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Don't tell me, you didn't have a camera right? And nobody else saw it, or at least they didn't have cameras either, and there was no way you could tell anybody, the RSCPA, the local media, passers by, because you didn't have a mobile phone either - you just saw a big cat and like 'everybody' else who's seen one you don't have a shred of evidence? Right?[/QB]
I had to laugh when I read this because it made me think of when I saw a fox a few weeks ago...luckily people believed me. [Big Grin]
I was standing outside my house at night waiting for a ride (alone) when a large fox walked down the sidewalk as if it belonged there. It must have heard or smelled me or something, because it stopped at the gangway to my house and turned to look at me before calmly continuing on! I've never seen a fox here in Chicago before so I was very surprised, especially so close (maybe 20 ft. away.) I guess I should not be surprised as we have a canal nearby which is like a wild animal highway, and there was a dog attacked by a coyote just about a mile away. I wish I had a camera, it was pretty neat!
Of course it's much less likely to see a "big cat" than a fox but there have been cases where they have been found in non-native areas, presumably pets or zoo animals which escaped/were set free.

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Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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quote:
Of course it's much less likely to see a "big cat" than a fox but there have been cases where they have been found in non-native areas, presumably pets or zoo animals which escaped/were set free.
The crux of the biscuit is that nobody 'ever' has a camera etc etc. There are so many 'sightings' claimed yet never 'ever' a shred of evidence, which surprises few wildlife enthusiasts in this country.

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This is where I come up with something right? Something really clever...

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dlloyd
I Saw Three Shipments


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Well, last night I may just have seen the creature mentioned in the two articles I quoted above, around midnight on a country road within five miles of both sightings. I got within ten meters of it and got a good look at it.

It wasn't a panther, I'm slightly sad to say. [Wink]

Its movement was not dog-like and it was too big to be a domestic cat. If it were further away, I can see it being mistaken for a big cat. It was black and had the bushy tail mentioned in a lot of reports from this area.

I reckon I saw a black fox.

No, not with mange.

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Barns & No Bull
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by dlloyd:

I reckon I saw a black fox.

Are you confidant that it was a fox and that it was black? If so, you had an unusual sighting. Your only native wild fox is the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) and it is usually red. There is a rare wild color variant that is nearly black, but those are almost exclusively local populations (where black is the dominant color) outside of the UK. The fur trade has selectively bred the red fox to be pure black. Though unlikely, that might explain a black fox in the UK.

The red fox can be very dark in color while still being reddish. It could be possible that under some circumstances they might look black.

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dlloyd
I Saw Three Shipments


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The foxes around here are usually red. I see them fairly regularly.

This thing was black, was running away from my car on the left hand side of the road, and couldn't get away due to a fence. It ran across the road less than 10 m in front of me, and darted through a hedge. It was fully illuminated by my headlights.

I can't be 100% sure that it was a fox... it may have been an unusually fox-like (but black) dog with a very fox-like gait. Being Halloween, it might have been a duck in a fox costume...

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catzeye
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Hi,i grew up in country N.S.W.[Australia] and my brother and i plus a friend were moving cattle on horseback when my brother and i both saw what we thought was some kind of strange white dog race off through the bush from a small dam where it must have been drinking or hunting,ducks etc.
Anyway we chased it through the bush and got close enough to the animal to see that it was an albino fox, we actually saw another one in a small country pub near swan hill in a glass cabinet [it was stuffed] yeah so why not a black fox??

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Barns & No Bull
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I'm not saying it wasn't a black red fox. I'm just saying that that would be a rare animal in the UK wild.

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dlloyd
I Saw Three Shipments


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...but more likely than a panther?
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Barns & No Bull
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I don't really know how to answer that.

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Llewtrah
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Melanism sometimes happens in foxes through chance mutation. Foxes can also go odd-coloured through rolling in stuff (just like domestic dogs roll in stuff) so could it have been a fox that had rolled in bonfire ashes?

Other species of fox are kept as exotic pets in the UK and don't need a licence. Most originated from fur farms and occasionally some escape from their owners. One of the animal rescue TV shows showed an RSPCA call-out to recapture a silver fox that had escaped from a back garden enclosure. The ones I've seen are more compact than our native red foxes (less leggy). Is it possible you've seen an escapee?

I'd have loved photos of an albino or melanistic red fox! I'm one of those people who goes trawling round musuems and zoos getting photos of genetic aberrations in animals - albinism, melanism, mutants and hybrids! I have several webpages of pics - I've photographed an albino Blandford's Fox (taxidermy), but not an albino or melanistic red foxes.

A few weeks ago I saw what appeared to be a roe deer fawn beside the road - totally the wrong season. It was tiny - smaller than a fox (we have loads of foxes here). Then I saw a muntjac fawn on TV - same spotted pattern and much closer in size to the fawn. There are definitely oddities to be seen in the British countryside in the darker hours and camera phones rarely have decent flash for getting pics.

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Messybeast Cat Resource Archive
Llewtrah's Soapbox

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The Pikey Snow Queen
The First USA Noel


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There are a few pictures on this site.

melanistic red fox

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Brosandi. Hendumst hringi
Hldumst hendur
Allur heimurinn skr
Nema stendur

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Cold DecEmbra Brings The Sleet
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
dlloyd said:
Its movement was not dog-like

Apologies if I posted this earlier in the same thread... but I fairly recently saw an animal that made me start precisely because I thought its movement was "un-doglike": a large, black animal with a loping gait.

I waited around for a while. FInally the dog's owner followed it through a gap in the fence. I was interested that my first gut reaction on seeing a large, unfamiliar-looking black animal was "ooh! I wonder if it's a big cat?!" (despite the nil likelihood of seeing anything like that in the Guildford area - I don't even think we have any local big cat stories).

ETA: Wouldn't you know it? Surrey does have its own big-cat lore after all (that'll teach me to make cosy smug assumptions about the stockbroker belt...):

The Surrey Puma

Surrey Puma captured on tape!

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I want you to lay down your life, Perkins. We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war.

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Barns & No Bull
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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quote:
Originally posted by Embra:

Surrey Puma captured on tape!

quote:
Now Do You Believe There Are Big Cats Living In The Surrey Countryside?
No. They have a video of this felid and all we are shown is this still? It's a moggie. Every photo or video I have seen of UK "big cats" are of housecats. Some are spectacularly obvious. But that doesn't prevent the believers from posting them on their cultish websites.

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Terrified, mortified, petrified, stupefied... by you!

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Cold DecEmbra Brings The Sleet
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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"Felid"?! Excellent. Note to self: Buy cat and name it "felid"....

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I want you to lay down your life, Perkins. We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war.

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Llewtrah
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Pikey Queen:
There are a few pictures on this site.

melanistic red fox

The second of those links isn't a melanistic red fox. In North America, red foxes come in 2 phases - red and black - plus an intermediate form known as the cross fox (red with darker markings). A melanistic fox would be a glossy black colour, possibly with white markings, but not with the red around the head. In Britain (and probably mainland Europe), we only have the red phase of red fox. No black phase and no intermediate cross fox.

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Messybeast Cat Resource Archive
Llewtrah's Soapbox

Posts: 2040 | From: Chelmsford, Essex, England | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Llewtrah
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Embra:
"Felid"?! Excellent. Note to self: Buy cat and name it "felid"....

Personally I prefer "Kitler" and "Pussolini"

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Messybeast Cat Resource Archive
Llewtrah's Soapbox

Posts: 2040 | From: Chelmsford, Essex, England | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Cold DecEmbra Brings The Sleet
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
"Kitler"
wow. When I think how lucky I was to have avoided that nickname at school...

I suppose Chairman Miaow's waaaay to obvious now.

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I want you to lay down your life, Perkins. We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war.

Posts: 4495 | From: Surrey, UK | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
The Pikey Snow Queen
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Llewtrah:
quote:
Originally posted by Pikey Queen:
There are a few pictures on this site.

melanistic red fox

The second of those links isn't a melanistic red fox. In North America, red foxes come in 2 phases - red and black - plus an intermediate form known as the cross fox (red with darker markings). A melanistic fox would be a glossy black colour, possibly with white markings, but not with the red around the head. In Britain (and probably mainland Europe), we only have the red phase of red fox. No black phase and no intermediate cross fox.
Ah [fish] to me then!

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Brosandi. Hendumst hringi
Hldumst hendur
Allur heimurinn skr
Nema stendur

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