Here is some data on the spring movements of a particular Sussex big cat from this year.As i,ve said before,big cats in Sussex principally target rabbits at this time year and the evidence to back this up is overwhelming to say the least as well as the effects of the moon have on their behaviour.Take this big cat for example,since the end of january it has been sighted only at dusk and dawn on only moonless nights and when it has been seen on a moonlit period this has only been in the middle of the night (with lamps).It has been seen on 16 verifiable occasions with all bar 2 of these being in rabbit hot spots together with suitable cover enabling the cat to approach it,s prey easily.On the 2 exceptions it was seen at night travelling at speed crossing a road in an area with few rabbits and presumably heading straight to an area where there was better hunting.All sightings were of a very large alsatian sized,black cat usually seen trotting with a very long outstretched tail.It was described as having small ears,well muscled legs and a flat face.The same area has been mapped out by myself over the last 11 years with last year going on mostly on the ground evidence (previously posted on bigcatdetective blog) due to gaining the trust of various farmers etc. i have since uncovered witness sightings to back up this evidence found.
Briefly,it was seen at 1 site then 3 days later 16.5 km away with further sightings and other evidence linking it to the general area for a further 5 days.Then again 10 days later 14.5 km away on 2 days to be seen at night 8.5 km away.It certainly appeared to move quickly through the areas where there are few rabbits to appear for between 2 to 7 days in another area then to move on somewhere else.It has consistantly reappeared at the same cluster of parishes at the same stages of moon for 3 moons so far but i expect this to change by the next moon or at least by the end of april when it,s range should increase to take in account new food sources such as fledgling birds by which time it should still visit it,s previous places but not as predictably .
So far it,s spring range encompasses an area of around 140 sq.km but obviously i cannot say it hasn,t gone outside of this range in the time period.The summer range will increase greatly in size to accomodate new food sources coming into being along with the summer cover which will enable it to hunt this seasonal prey,like waterfowl on banksides.The picture shows how birds such as ducks and pheasants are active at the first slivers of light falling prey to crepuscular hunters like big cats and foxes.
Despite it,s huge size,around the 23" at the shoulder mark,it has consistantly ran away from dogs (4 occasions) and either trotted or ran off at speed when realising it had been seen by people...........