MonsterQuest: Black Beast of Exmoor and related media
Black Beast of Exmoor
Large predatory cats are known to kill their prey by violently biting and breaking their victim's neck or by placing their mouth over that of their prey to smother it. The black beast, if it exists, would likely have few natural predators, enabling it to hunt efficiently on its own and roam the countryside alone.
This large feline creature has been spotted from the barren moors of southwest England to the isolated hills of northern Scotland, with concentrated numbers of livestock attacks in Exmoor, an area in north Devon.
Various reports describe this mysterious black beast as lithe, muscular, dark-colored, thick-tailed and measuring up to 7 feet in length.
This elusive monster cat may be related to the Scottish wild cat, the last known surviving predatory cat in the United Kingdom. Found today in the Scottish Highlands, this animal is typically twice as big as the average domestic cat and has razor-sharp claws, powerful thighs and a thick, ringed tail.
Millions of years ago, the forests and moors of the British Isles were home to a variety of predatory cats, including jaguars, pumas and saber tooth tigers. The last of these predatory cats, the leopard, is thought to have died out in England some 10,000 years ago. In the 1960s and 1970s, large exotic cats such as cheetahs and leopards were kept as status-symbol pets; the practice was unregulated. However, in 1976, the British government passed legislation making it illegal to own these animals without an expensive license. Rather than comply, some big-cat owners freed their dangerous pets into the British countryside. Once released, it's possible these creatures were able to survive and continue breeding.
MOST RECENT SIGHTING
In the early 1980s, the Exmoor area experienced a rash of more than 200 mutilated farm animals. One man lost over 100 sheep, claiming their necks had been violently slashed. Royal Marine sharpshooters were sent in to search for the predator. At least one soldier claimed to briefly glimpse the beast, which ceased its attacks while the sharpshooters were present then resumed its assaults after they left. Sightings of a mysterious black beast continue to this day, along with unexplained livestock maulings.
MonsterQuest: Black Beast of Exmoor
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