Pasco residents concerned: Bobcat or panther?

Jace Trautner, 11 of Trinity took the photo from his back patio.

PASCO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – A photo of a large cat, taken in the backyard of a Pasco County home is getting a lot of attention.

Jace Trautner, 11 of Trinity took the photo from his back patio. “I saw two cubs running behind the bushes back here,” said Trautner. Trautner says when he got close to the two kittens, they growled at him. ” Then my next idea was to get the dog in the house,” said Trautner.

He sent the photo to his mother and father, who first thought he was just trying to get out of homework. When they saw the picture, they changed their minds. “When I saw the size of it, I was like, that’s pretty significant,” said Jace’s father Jim Trautner.cat2

Neighbor Chuck Hastings says he had a similar experience but didn’t take a photo. “It’s something that I’ve seen before. I’ve seen a bobcat here about two years ago,” said Hastings.
The Trautner’s first believed the large cat may be a Florida Panther.

They sent photos to an expert with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. An expert with F.W.C. says the large cat is a Bobcat and not a panther. Still, Hastings is concerned.

“Well, it worries me that the boy here was able to get close enough that the animal actually growled at him. We walked the dogs at all times of the day and night, especially they get their last walk around 10 pm, so I guess I’ll be watching a little more closely,” said Hastings.

Jim Trautner says he’s seen droppings in his back yard for some time and now believes they may be from the Bobcat. He hopes to get better photos of the animals in his back yard the coming weeks.

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