The Cryptid Zoo: Alien Big Cats

Alien Big Cats, known as ABCs, are not cats from outer space. Instead, they are large cats that look something like black panthers, leopards, African lions, or cougars, but they are seen in Britain. They are "alien" in the sense that they are not thought to be native to the area. Most sightings are confined to the wildest places, especially swamps. A number of the more famous cases have received unique, local names, such as the Beast of Bodmin Moor.

Several dead bodies of the smaller type of ABC have turned out to be hybrids between the Scottish wildcat and domestic housecats. The larger varieties that look like a specific species such as leopards are generally presumed to be escaped exotic pets. These are often kept illegally by their owners, so the authorities never know how many of these might be around.

However, the hardest skeptics, including the British government, tend to reject even the exotic pet hypothesis in favor of hoaxes and killings done by Scottish wildcats. A number of leopard skulls found on the moors have turned out to be from leopard-skin rugs, adding to the controversy.

Some cryptozoologists believe that Britain has secretly supported a population of leopards, European lynxes, or some other species of wild feline for thousands of years. This assertion is supported by folklore. There is no time when people did not sight ABCs in the wilds of Britain. ABC sightings stretch back into the mists of prehistory. Before science replaced older explanations, these cats were usually thought to be demons in the form of cats, fairy cats or shapeshifting witches.

Some researchers in the field of cryptozoology use the label "alien big cat" to refer to any large feline glimpsed in an environment where it is not supposed to be a native animal. Thus, tigers seen in Africa or American lions would also count as ABCs. Sometimes, smaller cats are included in this label as well, as is the case sometimes with sightings of the Scottish wildcat in England.

You can find out more about Alien Big Cats from the following sources:

BBC News. Are Big Cats at Large?

Benjamin, R.W. Beast Of Bodmin Moor

The British Big Cats Society Official Website

Clark, Jerome and Coleman, Loren. Cryptozoology A-Z. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999. Pages 31-32

Clark, Jerome. Unexplained!. Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1999. Pages 215-218, 227-231

Coleman, Jerry D. Strange Highways: A Guidebook to American Mysteries & the Unexplained. Alton, Illinois: Whitechapel Productions Press, 2003. Page 100
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McEwan, Graham J. Mystery Animals of Britain and Ireland. London: Robert Hale, 1986. Pages 11-16, 17-51, 203-204

Moggycat. Anomalous Felids

Newton, Michael. Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide to Hidden Animals and Their Pursuers. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2005. Pages 16-17, 29, 32-33, 36, 41-54, 56, 67-68, 74-75, 81-82, 84, 87, 92, 97, 113-114, 124-125, 140, 145, 148-149, 151, 155, 157, 158, 162, 173-174, 183, 189, 194, 196, 202, 209, 215, 221-222, 227-228, 231, 259-263, 277, 282, 286-287, 289-290, 292, 309, 316, 318, 323, 326, 333, 336, 338, 343, 348, 354, 356, 369-371, 377-379, 397, 402, 414, 424, 429, 437, 442, 447-451, 454-455, 460, 463, 483, 492-493

Panther Watch

Rare Books about British Big Cats

The Scottish Big Cat Trust

Weidensaul, Scott. The Ghost with Trembling Wings: Science, Wishful Thinking and the Search for Lost Species. New York: North Point Press, 2002. Pages 12, 128-150, 171

Wikipedia, The. Beast of Bodmin

Wikipedia, The. Beast of Exmoor

Wikipedia, The. British Big Cats

Wikipedia, The. Lions in Europe

Wikipedia, The. Phantom Cat

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The text on this page is copyright 2006 by Jamie Hall. Please use proper citation if you are using this website for research.