Lowndes man says cougars are on the prowl - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lowndes man says cougars are on the prowl

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By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) –  Something attacked one of Larry Rodgers' horses. He says the wound pattern indicates it was a big cat, and he says he has seen extremely rare Florida panthers here in south Georgia.

Rodgers believes a Florida panther attacked his horse. "There's no doubt that they're here," said Rodgers.

A large lump as big as a fist was found near the horse's throatlach about a month ago at the Pine Ridge Ranch outside of Clyattville. It was first thought Peppy had been kicked by another horse.

Peppy was grabbed on his throat. You can see two teeth marks and there's a puncture wound on the other side. There are also scratches underneath Peppy's mane.

Rodger says it might've been from the paw of a big cat. A veterinarian treated Peppy and gave him antibiotics.

"She agreed that it was too large a spread of the teeth to be a bobcat," said Rodgers.  "She couldn't explain what it was that made that mark."

The teeth marks are spread about two inches a part. He's healing up but Rodgers says Peppy's still a little stirred up from the encounter.  "He's a real gentle horse," said Rodgers. "He likes people but he's been sort of hard to catch since then. He's just acts a little different."

Rodgers and his family say they have spotted panthers on the property.  "This is typical of what a big cat would do they'd go for the throat of the animal."

He warns people to watch their animals. "I think smaller animals would be more apt to be killed by them."

For now Peppy's paling around with another horse name Buck. Rodgers believes Buck could've been there to break up the attack. And while we may not know what exactly attacked Peppy.

Rodgers insists Florida panthers are here. Veterinarians say attacks on big animals like horses are rare. Most the time, predators in our area go after small animals.

The Florida Panther is an endangered species primarily found is Southwest Florida. They are tan, usually with a darker tan along the center of the back, creamy white underneath, with some black on the ears, muzzle, and tail tip.

They get up to about 130 pounds and are usually around to 6 to 8 feet long, including the tail. They primarily prey on deer and hogs.

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