Of all the backyards in the world to run into, the alleged black panther had to walk into that of RedState.com Editor and CNN Contributor Erick Erickson. The right-leaning Georgia-based journalist started his morning off with quite a fright: He noticed a black panther in his backyard. And no, not the revolutionary kind — the real kind that can kill the neighbor’s cat and endanger your children. Animal.com calls it one of the most aggressive and feared animals in the world.
“I’ve had several people in the area say they’ve spotted him,” Erickson told FishbowlDC this afternoon by phone. “My wife is very concerned.”
Erickson said he awoke at 4 a.m. to what he thought was a woman screaming — he thought he was dreaming. He later learned that this is the sound the animal makes. “I went outside and I didn’t know what it was,” he continued. “The dog was agitated. I was trying to go get on TV and the dog was going nuts. It was this aerodynamically designed animal. I was absolutely scared to death. So was the dog!”
Erickson owns a shotgun. But neighbors and friends have assured him that the odds of seeing the alleged panther again are non-existent since it is a constantly migratory animal. They apparently never stay in the same spot for more than 24 hours. “At least that’s what people are telling us and I’m going to believe it,” he said amid laughter. “Oh the things people in Washington don’t have to worry about.”
As a responsible citizen, Erickson reported the sighting to the Department of Natural Resources, who promptly told him to go get a paw print and a fur sample… They told him panthers don’t frequent Georgia and that the animal was likely a coyote. But he isn’t convinced and said he’s not going near the woods anytime soon.
File this one under WTF.com.
“You will be unsurprised how many Eric Holder jokes I’ve receivd today since I discovered a black panther in my backyard,” Erickson wrote this afternoon on Twitter referring to the Attorney General. He told FBDC, “They’re all bad jokes, but it’s just crazy that’s what they thought to reply back with.”
Erickson, who lives in a wooded area of Macon, Ga. and has two small children, has been relaying the incident online since early this morning. He remarked on reporting the animal to the Department of Natural Resources. “They told me that what my wife and I saw we did not see and to go find tracks and fur to prove it,” he wrote. He added that he would have thought the creature was a bear except for the 3-ft long fury tail.
Erickson shared on Twitter that the neighbor’s cat has been missing for the past few days. He said his wife saw the “panther” walking down the street last night. “She thought it was a really big black lab in the dark,” he explained.
Not so funny was his initial reaction this morning. “Holy (without expletives) there’s a panther in my backyard. Thought it was a black lab till it moved. Holy crap my heart won’t stop beating.”