Black bobcats are exceedingly rare.
The bobcat is a shy and solitary creature that often likes to avoid humans at all costs. Most people have never seen one in the wild because they are so talented at avoiding people. What could be rarer than seeing a bobcat? How about seeing one with a jet black coloration?
WMUR reports a melanistic phase bobcat has recently been sighted in and around Danville, Vermont recently. From a distance, it might be easy to mix this feline up with an ordinary housecat. That is until you take a closer look and realize it has all the features of a wild animal.
A Facebook video uploaded by Melissa Patnoe earlier this month has already gone wildly viral and has been shared over 4,000 times. You can see this footage of this most rare sight below.
Normally bobcats have a grey or yellowish-brown coloration characterized with dark spots. However, this bobcat is melanistic. Basically, this is the opposite of albino and is characterized by an increased amount of pigment in the animal's hair or skin. Melanism is common in many forms of cats including jaguars. These black phase cats are often called "black panthers."
However, melanism is much rarer in bobcats. So much so, that full records on the number found may not be exact. At least 10 have been trapped in Florida. Two others, both from New Brunswick, Canada have been trapped over the years. The first being caught in 1983 and the second in 2016.
Even though this bobcat has darker hair than normal, the tell-tale spots, ear tufts and short tail typical of bobcats are all still obvious here. The cat looks a little skinny, but this is still a beautiful animal and a rare sight anyone who loves the outdoors can appreciate. We are just glad someone was there to capture the video and share it with the world.