Florida Panther (Puma concolor coryi )
Despite what you might think, or any rumors floating around central Florida you may have heard, I have not actually dropped off the planet. I hate to admit it, but I was slammed by another bad cold, which morphed its way into bronchitis, and knocked me on what some would call my "not inconsiderable backside." (Of course, they wouldn't call it that in my presence, if they know what's good for them. But. I digress.)
Needless to say, a lot of things have dropped by the wayside as I languished pale and pitiful . . . okay, as I sneezed and coughed, and moaned and groaned, and otherwise made a nuisance of myself. Ooops. Digressing again. Sorry. Back to the issue at hand, which is my abject apology for missing the last couple of weeks' #NotesFromTheRiver posts. I will do my best to make it up to you, in the weeks ahead, where, presumably, I will be hale and hearty and gloriously healthy once again!
Since I'm still convalescing here, I thought I'd make it easier on myself my first week back by breaking the panther post into two parts. This week, a brief overview of the Florida panther, the most glorious creature to reside in the state of Florida. (Our state animal, by the way.) While the Florida panther has been listed for many years as a distinct subspecies of the western cougar, recent genetic research could possibly change that.
For now, however, we are going to call it a whole 'nother animal. The Florida panther is smaller than the western cougar, with some differences in skull shape and size, and that's good enough for the likes of me. I'll let scientists battle out the rest. Of course, should the panther be reclassified, it could impact its current status as endangered, too, so we'll have to keep an eye on how all of that plays out.
In the meantime, here are some lovely photos for your viewing pleasure.
Making the Cover
A Lap Full of Baby Panther
What a Panther Is
What A Panther ISN'T
(Florida Bobcat, or Lynx rufus floridanus. Note smaller size, spotted coat, and stubby tail.)
Look Into My Eyes. (From a Distance, Of Course.)
Next week,a more in-depth look at this gorgeous animal, including vital statistics, life span, territorial habits, the raising of panther cubs, and other interesting tidbits. A question to whet your appetite: How many panther attacks on humans have ever been documented? Tune in next week for the answer. It might surprise you.
Until then, remember to look up now and then. As I always say, you never know what might be looking down at you!