You are here:

Wild Animals/black panther sighting in North Carolina


Darrin wrote at 2007-12-26 03:46:02
I have friends who have a house in Mashoes, North Carolina, right on the edge of the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge (on the mainland close to Roanoke Island). About 10 years ago, while walking down the beach at dusk one evening, they saw a large black panther standing on the edge of the woods, not 50 feet away! They had a little Welsh terrier that was going ballistic barking, but the panther just calmly looked at them, turned around and disappeared into the forest.

They also tell me that rangers up in fire towers see panthers, both black and the regular tawny colored form, in that area quite often.

jc wrote at 2008-03-30 13:26:09
just to add to your sighting, we here on the outer banks around the alligator river NWR have on numerous occasions have seen this black cat looking animal with a curly tail that probably weighs over 100 lbs and have seen these cats all times of the year.  we have seen these cats for the past 10 years.  without offense of what to call them, we use the term black panther. so you are not crazy, they do exist.  i am actually a hunting guide and have very many wildlife biologist contacts and friends that have seen these as well.  thanks for your time

ricochet wrote at 2008-06-05 05:57:28
I saw a large black cat just outside Morehead City, NC area about 20 years ago....they ARE here !!!!

Catwoman wrote at 2009-03-10 17:19:16
Yes! I have recently moved to Caswell Co. North Carolina, to a 30 acre farm where my husband and I plan to eventually retire. Not only do we have coyote dens on our property, but we have sighted several coyotes(identified by tracking and pawprint typing), as well, and we have most recently sighted one black panther-type animal, heard cat screams in the woods, and this week had an animal(screaming like a cat, with deep throated growling)inside our chicken house attacking and eating several chickens.

We could not catch sight of the "cougar" or "panther" inside the chicken house(and yes, there were at least 2 gaps in doors leading into the henhouse, as we have never had predator issues to worry about for the most part)which we have tightened up. We could not get to the chicken house quickly enough, as it happened at about 1 a.m. But we sighted the black "panther" again 2 days later.

So, yes, we have panther-like cats in NC. Ours is about 20" from paw to shoulder, and body including tail about 4 feet long. Not huge but at least double the size of my 22 lb. tabby housecat. So, maybe 40 lbs? The date today is March 10, 2009. All events herein have happened last week.

Take care out there!  

BlackPantherSeeker wrote at 2009-04-07 02:45:17
In or around 1996 - 1997 I lived in Warsaw, North Carolina.  I was leaving my girlfriends house around Faison, driving my small Honda.  It was after dark around 11PM or so.  I also had the car lights on.  A very large black panther jumped across the road in front of me.  The cat was very close to the car in front of me.  I was going around 45mph.  I also got a very good look at him.  The animal looked to be three feet tall and span at least five or six feet long, It was in very sleek and shiny and jet black almost blue against the headlights.  He had a long thin tail and it had a small puff at the end.  He didn't look at me as he ran across the road in about a leap and a half.  I didn't really believe what I saw but I know what I saw.  I don't live in that area any longer so I most likely won't see one again.  Also, the area is only about 50 miles from Jacksonville.  I'm sure that is within the big cats territory.

Sheliah Wurth wrote at 2009-09-18 01:28:41
Black Panther Sighting in Dudley Shoals (Caldwell, North Carolina)Sept 17 2009  I was on my way to Dudley church for a meeting and saw a huge black cat coming across the a field that we regularly see deer and wild turkey in.  I stopped in the road to watch it. The animal was solid black and was differently a panther.  It was galloping across the field.

Don wrote at 2010-06-08 00:16:16
I have approx 40 acre parcel wooded land in Richlands, NC that by aerial view butts up against Huffman forest.  I have a black panther that I have seen on 3 separate occasions.  It appeaqrs to be unafraid of humans but does not stick around to see what we're about.  Saw it 4 days ago while going to work (4 June 2010).  Told wife and friends who have seen once on my land but the cat was moving very fast.  I have many rabbits, and game that pass through my land and I think this little guy is just making his rounds.

panther spotter wrote at 2010-06-15 04:58:28
i am sitting here with a man who told me that i was crazy when i told him i saw a black panther on 64 around alligator river. i have proven him wrong.  end of story.

SWAMPFOX wrote at 2010-08-19 22:41:41
A black panther sighting in Green swamp area.She had 2 cubs in 2001. And still more black panther sightings are going today. Look at the News Reporter Aug. 19th on big cats in N.C.

aristide wrote at 2011-01-04 15:13:24
My Brother (38) and I (37) are sure we spotted a "puma concolor couguar" with light yellowish hair on Saturday January 1st at about 11:30 pm as I was a passenger the car traveling north bound on I95 in a heavily wooded area somewhere near the Halifax exit of North Carolina. there where no houses or buildiongs for a long stretch of that terreain and we are sure it was not a dog.  

terry wrote at 2011-03-03 15:46:42
I grew up in Watauga County in the 1950's thru the 70's, as a child and teenager I spent a lot of time in the woods hunting and fishing since that was about all there was. I frequently observed and heard a black cougar which apparently roamed around Trout Lake on Shull's Mill Road including tracks. The closest I had seen he or she was about 50 yards, although, it had probably been checking me out at a much closer range. I told my dad,who had been raised on Flannery Fork, he confirmed that he had also seen black panthers in the area during his childhood.  

Joe Ward wrote at 2011-05-06 03:36:40
In a camp ground in Buxton on the Outer Banks, in 1990 a tawny Panther strolled through the campsite as we were returning after dark.  This cat was way more than double a house cat.  I would say waist-high.  The tail was very long and curved up to avoid being dragged on the ground.  My family all agreed that we would remain in the car for a while before going to our tent.  Everyone in the car was equally impressed at the size of the cat.  The panther, for his part, paid almost no attention to us.

Aaron wrote at 2011-07-09 01:40:19
That's crazy. I actually just sighted a black panther near that area this weekend. The craziest part of my sighting was that it was during broad daylight at Fort Fisher. There were plenty of people around, but the panther was in a field between the main road and beach (not really visible unless you were pulling into the parking lot). It didn't look incredibly huge, but it was no doubt much bigger than a black house cat. It was at least the size of a large dog with a tail that was at least two to three feet in length. I also feel that this was a rare once-in-a-lifetime thing. The funny part is, I had a camera in my hand. By the time I switched to manual focus to get a clear shot, the beast saw me and booked it into those thick shrubs near the fort. It was kind of irritating! I guess that's why the animals are so rare to see...they're extremely weary because they're not in their natural habitat.

Marco wrote at 2011-12-21 02:22:18
I never saw a black panther, but I believe they exist. I grew up in the NC mountains, and heard many local tales about panthers while I was growing up. Many times, the story specifically stressed that the panther under discussion was black. In Haywood County, NC, there is a little community named Panther Springs. My father told me it got its name from the fact that a man once knelt at a spring there to get a drink of water. As he looked into the water, he saw the reflection of a black panther ready to spring on him. Just in time, he was able to get his knife and kill the panther. I fully believe this and other stories about black panthers.

J wrote at 2012-01-06 18:09:57
I saw the same kind of of black panther over in the area called fair bluff nc on highway 904 but haven't told many people because they would probably not believe me

dw wrote at 2012-05-22 20:07:55
I saw black cat the size of a black lab in my yard May 20, it walked quickly away,ducked behind a large oak and looked around the tree at me.I saw the cat out of peripheral vision- thought was my dog, I realized the dog was in the house, I startled it as I came around the garage. My dog is 22" at the shoulder weighs about 60 pounds, this black cat was about the same size.Did have a head like a bobcat.

jen wrote at 2012-06-29 14:01:58
carova beach, NC - afternoon... we thought we were nuts but thanks for the posts confirming what we saw was real.  large black cat.  wow!

HeatherFromME wrote at 2012-09-11 04:07:16
Thank you for all of these "Panther" sighting posts. I was driving through Alligator River Preserve last weekend (Labor Day Weekend 2012) and saw a large black cat with a slender, curved tail crossing one of the access roads. I knew it could not be a dog or cat due to its size (it seemed quite huge from a distance) and couldn't be a black bear from its body shape, tail length and shape, and gait. I felt totally crazy until I read these posts, now I'm just excited!

Lee Trogdon wrote at 2012-11-12 21:13:11
In 1948 or 1949, we were visiting my Grandmother in Engelhard, NC (Hyde Co.) and were on our way to visit the recently opened Wright Memorial. Hwy 264 crosses a swampy, isolated, and sparsely populated area for many miles.  I was in the back seat looking back and saw a large black cat cross the road behind us.  I related this to my parents but no one believed me.  I'm 71 now so I must have been about 8 yrs old then so I can understand why but I know what I saw.  I was elated to find an article in a Carolina Country magazine at the dentist office many years later about other sightings.  I don't know if Big Foot exists but I know big black cats, whether called panthers or cougars do exist.

Blade wrote at 2013-10-20 22:25:25
My wife and I just returned from driving to a site where we bike on alligator wildlife refuge just off of 64. We were driving the access road when we to saw a large cat cross the road. We talked the whole way back to Nags Head how it could not have been a bear or dog because of its size and shape. That it had to be a cougar or some kind of large cat. Never thought about a black panther, but that's what it had to be. We thought we were crazy as well. Never expected that. Thankful to have been in the car and not on the bike at that time lol

Chipper wrote at 2015-01-21 20:39:55
Our family are fanatical animal watchers. We saw a large cat (black) on the main road south of Lake Phelps three or four years ago. My daughter and I had it clearly in the headlights, and it was a cat in that 100 lb range. With a large tail.(We see bobcats all the time,and this was NOT a bobcat,wolf,coyote,bear or whatever.) Sorry, no pictures. Of course, we have no proof, but the many reports make this a very interesting possibility.

Fish wrote at 2015-07-15 12:08:36
7/15/2015   was recently on a fishing trip on Currituck Sound, Coinjock side. Stayed at an old lodge right across the road from sound. It was stormy but not raining at the time. Saw a large black animal on dirt road about 200 yards. First thought it was a bear, then thought it was a dog, then realized it had a long slender tail about 3 foot long turned up on the end. It went into a thicket & I thought, that was a panther, wish I could have seen more? About that time he came back out of the thicket and stopped looked straight at me & paused, then walked down the path slowly out of my sight. The second look I saw his large black face & sleek body. There is no doubt this was a big large black, don't know the proper name, but they do exist. These other sightings have made me feel better because I almost doubted what I saw. The guy with me didn't even believe me, but I'm sure it was a large cat.

Adam wrote at 2015-07-19 04:15:46
I live in Richlands NC on Francktown Rd, I just walked out my front door and saw a big black cat as tall as my 60 pound pit bull. Its tail was about as long as it's body (3 feet or so). It saw me and ran off. It came out from where I have a salt block and a trail cam for deer. My camera has been off for a few weeks and I was planning on turning it back on this weekend because I have 6 pregnant does and they should be dropping the fawns any time and I wanted to get a few pictures and see how many fawns I was getting. After it ran off I grabbed my SD card and went out to my camera to turn it on so maybe I could get a picture of the cat. I took a .22 rifle with me with a mounted light so I could see. After installing the card and turning the trail cam back on I headed out of the woods and into my field. As soon as I came out of the woods I did a sweep with the light and saw the cat again, about 40 yards out and crouched the way cats do when stalking prey. It was almost glossy black, definitely as tall as my pit bull, and had a long tail that was sort of curved down a little and then straightened out with a slight curve at the tip. I cracked off a shot units general area and it bolted, I have chickens, rabbits, quail, ducks, and pigs right up by my house also, I think this mixed with the constant deer traffic may have drawn it in. Never seen a panther but have heard many stories from years past. I have grown up in the mountains of Tennessee and saw many animals, plenty of Bobcats, this was no bobcat, Lynx, or mountain lion. This was a black panther for sure.  

Maigan K wrote at 2015-07-22 01:55:26
Googled "black panther outer banks nc" and came across this thread, and because of some of these answers I can confirm that I spotted a black panther crossing the road on Bald Head Island tonight. It was a very unnerving experience; I thought it was a dog at first so I had my friend, who was driving the golf cart, brake to allow it to pass. It was about the size of a German shepherd but pitch black and had a long, long tail trailing behind it. It didn't pay us a bit of attention, and immediately disappeared into the maritime forest on the other side of the road. Saw a deer standing stock still about 10 feet further down the road after we began driving again; I think he knew he might be on the menu tonight. Very cool experience!

dph wrote at 2015-10-02 16:56:19
It's good to see these accounts of black panther sightings. The vast majority of biologists seem to believe that there are no black panthers in NC. However, I lot of eyewitnesses feel otherwise. I too, think I saw a black panther on the way to the Fort Fisher Ferry.

I had just taken the 90 degree curve to the left very close to the ferry. As soon as I rounded the curve I saw something crossing the road, maybe 100 yards ahead. The animal was long, black, and low. I immediately ruled out a deer, and it didn't appear to be a dog either. The best way to describe the animal is cat-like.

I did not see a tail on the animal, but this could be due to a variety of reasons, the primary one being the distance. Another factor is the speed at which the animal crossed the road; I only got a brief glimpse.

When I got to the area where I thought the animal crossed, I rolled down my window to try to find some footprints (I wasn't about to get out of the car). Unfortunately I found no tracks from the animal.

I can't say with 100% certainty that what I saw was a panther; it's just that a panther is the best fit for what I saw.

Kelly wrote at 2016-08-04 01:39:54
TO'Day is the 2nd time I've seen a black panther in plain view! Last sighting was 4 years ago. I was mowing my lawn and he just strutted across the road, from one corn field to another! At first I thought I was seeing things but today has proven to me it was really true, Black Panther are in Engelhard,  NC!

Wild Animals

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Jonathan Wright


I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.


I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

©2016 All rights reserved.