The Search For The Mystery Carrabelle Cat

By: Sandra Osborne Email
By: Sandra Osborne Email

Panama City- A team of popular cryptozoologists are searching the Florida panhandle this weekend for a mystery cat.

After several sightings in Carrabelle, city commissioners invited the team to search for the cat.

The team, comprised of Scott Marlowe, Lee Hales, and Ken Gerhard has been featured on “Monsterquest”. The team will be joined by naturalists Robert Reese and Lisa Wojcik.

A Carrabelle hunter captured the dark cat on video and posted it on

"It has to be at least 24 inches in length from where the neck meets the body to the back of the cat," said Marlowe.

Some believe it’s a regular house cat, but the cryptozoologists say the Carrabelle cat could be a member of a wide range of species.

"We could have a Florida Panther, but they're way down in the southern tip of Florida, but there's still that possibility that their range could extend up to here," said Hales.

"We also believe that there are jaguarondi loose here in the state and it could be some kind of a hybrid although they don't seem to breed too well with a common cat species," said Marlowe.

The team stopped by the Bear Creek Feline Center in Panama City on Friday to research large cats native to Florida.

They took urine samples from a Florida Panther and made plaster casts of many of the animals.

"We're going to set some traps there. Some camera traps to try to get a feel for size based on the footage. Being in the actual location will give us a sense for how big this cat really is," said Hales.

Their goal is to identify the mystery cat, then figure out the next course of action.

"If it is something that's unique and something that's indigenous, something that lives here or should live here, then we need to know about it and that way we can act to preserve the area it lives in," said Hales.

Expedition team members say this is the first time city officials have called them in for help.

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  • by Clorist Location: Dump on Mar 5, 2012 at 10:18 AM
    I used to ruin Black Panther parties all the time.
  • by Emily Location: Esto on Mar 4, 2012 at 02:50 PM
    Back in the 70's people used to have Black Panther parties. I don't know what they did at these parties. But I guess it was like most other parties. Games, food, drinks, people acting silly, just a big time. Why did they call them Black Panther parties, I really don't know, they may have liked big cats.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 5, 2012 at 03:23 PM in reply to Emily
      Do an internet search on the subject. I dont believe it was because they liked the big cats.
  • by Tommy Location: Chipley on Mar 4, 2012 at 11:16 AM
    Just like Bigfoot. Alot of sightings but never one captured.
  • by Sue Location: Sopchoppy on Mar 3, 2012 at 04:15 PM
    Panthers are here and have been for a long time. Being from Sopchoppy and living on the river you could hear them with their terrible screams and it gives you the chills....My Dad used to camp on the river bank and they would have to come home they would get so close,and Grandma always told them dont be brave just leave and come home so................
  • by Anonymous on Mar 3, 2012 at 02:08 PM
    Why is it when ever i hear someone talking about the possibility of seeing a Florida panther, they almoast always say it was black?? A Florida panther is nothing more than a mountain lion or a cougar that just happens to reside in Florida, most of these animals are a light brown color. Yes, some of them are black, but its not common. If every panther i have heard a story about in this area were true, NWFL would have the largest population of black panthers to have ever been discovered in north America.
  • by Jasper Location: Bonifay Florida on Mar 2, 2012 at 08:57 PM
    We have woods behind our house over here in the Bethleham area of Bonifay and I've seen something like this, caught a glimpse of something big and black running across the rd. When my Dad moved here in '57 there was panthers in the woods, he saw them.Just because you don't see these animals all the time does not mean that they're not here.
    • reply
      by Scott Marlowe on Mar 20, 2012 at 02:46 AM in reply to Jasper
      The cat doesn't necessarily have to be a melanistic Florida Panther. Based on our experiments to determine the size of the cat in Larry Miller's video, it seems a bit to small (unless it's a juvenile) and the animal's profile also seems too slight to be the more robust frame of a panther. It could be an escaped exotic cat -- like a Geoffroy's Cat. The Geoffroy's (for example) is known to have a melanistic phase and is about the right size and profile to fit the animal in the Hunter's video.
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