big cat research in Sussex


Cluster of sightings in West Sussex

Posted on March 22, 2014 at 10:10 AM

A cluster of sightings is starting to develop in West Sussex in a block of country that has historically seen high big cat activity but has been very quiet for the last couple of years.The first one reported on febuary 15th was in the general area of Fittleworth when a witness described seeing a large black cat the size of a Labrador run across a field into some woodland.The area is noted for it`s sandy soil and so adds weight to the theory that in times of wet winters big cats stick mostly to free draining soils and big woodlands. A week and another eye-witness saw a similarly described black big cat crossing a woodland path in the general area of Plaistow again on free draining ground.The morning of the 14th march and a car driver reported seeing a large black animal crossing the road in front of them at speed which they could only think of being a big cat while the following Tuesday in the rough area of Billingshurst/Coolham on the18th saw 2 witnesses at 9am watch a big black cat leap across the track in front of them in one bound, a distance of maybe 12ft.They were sitting in a vehicle at the time and were no more than 20ft away from the animal so there is no doubt on their identification that it was a big black cat around 22" tall.

Clusters of sightings in early spring, possibly from the same animal, mostly at between 8 to 10 am could possibly denote a cat that is heavily engaged in hunting rabbits. This is because so long as they are not disturbed rabbits will continue feeding well into the morning to make the most of the run of fresh spring grass. Foxes have been increasingly observed hunting rabbits at this time of day when light to aid speed rather then nightime stealth will catch more prey. As rabbits are the principal prey of big cats in spring it would be reasonable to suggest the same reasons for the increased observance of them in the morning hours.Sightings data collected over the past few years particularly has affirmed this and just about every spring has clusters of big cat sightings cropping up in one area of the county or another with a similar stamp to them. Last year was noted for it`s late start due to the cold spring but even so a big brown cat was seen a little later in spring on the Eastbourne downs at precisely these times of day in areas of high rabbit numbers. 2012 saw the downs north of Brighton experience a number of similarly described sightings,2011 was the Lancing downs up to Dial Post and Cowfold when a massive 26 sightings of a similarly described big black cat were reported as well the Robertsbridge and Bexhill areas of the county.2010 and Telscombe and Peacehaven residents reported numerous sightings of a large black cat seen often in the mornings in the area in spring and so it goes on back through the years... 

Categories: Sightings

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