Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011


On Saturday the 12th of March 2011 I was travelling up to Bristol to spend the weekend with a friend. I was on a National Express coach heading north up the M5. The time was 1.13 pm. I looked to my left at some fields between West Clyst and the M5. Standing in a field approximately 800 feet from me was a big cat. It was the size of a full grown German Shepherd dog. Its tail was almost as long as its body and was curled towards the end. The head was rounded with small ears. The fur was very dark brown, like dark chocolate and seemed sleek and almost shiny. The animal did not move and appeared to be watching something although I could see no other people or animals in the field.

The animal seemed to be a very dark furred puma. The closest in colour I have been able to find on the net was this photo.

The animal was only in view for about 8 seconds. During that time it stood still without moving in a semi crouched stance. Oddly the sighting did not seem fantastical but almost mundane.


Dale Drinnon said...

Hmmm, that would be a photo I donated to the CFZ blog. There were others of the series on Flickr when I got that one.

The very dark pumas are very rare but there are several that have been photographed, shot or captured and really--there are some of us that just plain don't understand why some people go to all the fuss to deny it. One of the puma's closest relatives genetically is the jagarundi, widely known to have a black phase.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

RR said...

Great sighting Richard. We've had dark chocolatey-coloured cat sightings here too in Australia. I almost find those ones more interesting than the black and tan colour phases.
If only all the coach trips I've taken over the years were similarly exciting I wouldn't have minded spending eight hours cramped in a seat next to a freshly liberated prisoner (the old Greyhound coach always stopped outside Goulburn prison en route to Melbourne!).

Neil A said...

I'm of the opinion that the very dark brown cats are melanistc leopards and not very dark pumas. If dark pumas, as Dale mentions are very rare, then why would they exist in the UK ? The melanistic leopard in certain light conditions appear dark chocolate with, at times, the rosette pattern bleeding through the coat.