SFA wildlife ecology professor thinks big cat photographed in He - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

SFA wildlife ecology professor thinks big cat photographed in Hemphill is a bobcat

Amanda Perkins snapped this picture in Hemphill. (Source: Amanda Perkins) Amanda Perkins snapped this picture in Hemphill. (Source: Amanda Perkins)
Photographs of bobcats. Notice the short tail, stocky build and tuft on face. (Source: KTRE Staff) Photographs of bobcats. Notice the short tail, stocky build and tuft on face. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Photographs of cougars. Notice the long tail and long, slender body. (Source: KTRE Staff) Photographs of cougars. Notice the long tail and long, slender body. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Big cat expert Dr. Daniel Scognamillo, a SFASU wildlife professor, compared the pictures to provide an opinion on what kind of animal Perkins saw. (Source: KTRE Staff) Big cat expert Dr. Daniel Scognamillo, a SFASU wildlife professor, compared the pictures to provide an opinion on what kind of animal Perkins saw. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Amanda Perkins compares the pictures of cougars and bobcats against her own, while recollecting what she saw. (Source: KTRE Staff) Amanda Perkins compares the pictures of cougars and bobcats against her own, while recollecting what she saw. (Source: KTRE Staff)
HEMPHILL, TX (KTRE) -

A Hemphill woman created some debate when she posted a cell phone picture taken right in town of an animal that resembles a cougar. 

Amanda Perkins just finished her night shift at Hemphill Care Center when she heard and noticed something out of the ordinary.

“Over there, by the house, was a mountain lion and a passel of dogs,” Perkins said.

Perkins got out and snapped some pictures of the big cat. After posting them to social media the big debate began all over Hemphill.  

“A bunch of people have disagreed,” Perkins said. “Said that it was just a bobcat, but I don’t think it was just a bobcat.”

One opinion comes from Stephen F. Austin State University professor Dr. Daniel Scognamillo. The wildlife professor has 20 years of experience researching … 

“Pumas, ocelots, and jaguars,” Scognamillo said.

We showed him Perkins pictures and he immediately noticed …

“The absence of a large, massive tail,” Scognamillo said.

Then he started comparing body length.

“This animal tends to be very short in the body length,” Scognamillo said.

Not stopping there, the big cat expert called his advisor. Together they formed the same opinion. 

“I will have to say it’s probably more likely that it’s not a puma.” Scognamillo said. “Maybe, it’s a bobcat.”

East Texas shared the professor’s observations with Perkins.

“What’s missing?” the reporter asked.

I don’t see the tail, but ...” Perkins said with a laugh.

“Exactly. That’s exactly what he said, too,” the reporter said.

Perkins had a chance to study the pictures to decide for herself.

“Very well could be a bobcat,” Perkins said with another laugh. “More than likely because it does have like the beard like a bobcat and everything, so probably is a bobcat.”

Keep watching. Ecologists say it is possible that cougars from West Texas are moving east to re-colonize former territory.

According to cougarnet.org there have been several confirmed cougar sightings in East Texas, since way back in the 90s. Perkins is commended for her quick action in taking the pictures as it helps biologists learn more about native wildlife.  

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