Tuesday, 8 March 2011
Mystery rabbit kills at Mt.Caburn
The sighting at Mt.Caburn last week previously posted as a possible puma sighting is now described as a sandy cat of about 20" tall.After meeting the witness who very kindly met me at the site and had already expertly investigated the area on the downland ridge where he saw the big cat and i an only repeat what was seen and it certainly doesn,t tally with being a puma.This is usual,witnesses very often say they saw a puma and then go on to describe a totally different big cat which is usually a British big cat.There are only 2 witness statements on my Sussex big cat files in 2010 where the description could and i repeat could tally with what would plausibly be called a puma or mountain lion and even then it is not definite and this is in the far east of the county.However the updated cat description does certainly fit in with what is usually seen in Sussex and especially the Lewes area,besides,evidence gathered at the scene,whilst by no means conclusive points to the usal prey being taken by the usual type of big cat,the British big cat.
The witness is a local chap and wildlife savvy,he showed me what he had found which was incredible to say the least for out in the open,about 3 weeks old,all eaten out the same way with the heads missing,the skin inside out literally dozens of rabbit carcases.They were spread out in the open around the ridge encompassing about 50 acres.We counted over 50 carcases and i must say in all my experience have never seen such a thing.My impression on seeing the first one from a distance was maybe a buzzard but they won,t chew on bones ,rasp them clean or skin them neatly inside out though a fox might but it would take the carcases off to some cover and not eat them on the spot in the middle of the field.There was little sign of them being killed either,not much fur lying around plus if a buzzard cathes and eats some of a rabbit the rest is usually taken off by scavengers like foxes or badgershowever sometimes when big cats kill and eat something,very often what is left won,t be touched,at least for a long time for some reason and this has been proved by leaving a trail camera at the scene in any case the rabbits appeared to be all eaten out in one sitting and all in the same fashion.
The dead rabbits were too far gone for a proper analysis but they do fit in with similar carcases found near big cat sightings and all were left in a similar fashion.What is clear is that in an area with such a high population of rabbits such as this,the numbers run into 1000,s,a big cat will stay for a short while say 2 or so weeks and hunt rather than move straight through,also Mt.Caburn especially it,s northern slopes and where the dead rabbits were is famous for big cat sightings over the years being thought of as a run through from the downs west of Lewes connecting that area with the ground all the way to Firle beacon and beyond.
As for the big cat itself,well,brown or sandy cats are very often male,the one seen locally previously has been much,much bigger and more different too look at so it,s not the brown one usually seen around here at this time of year.This is a very speculative theory at the moment but it may be a young male trying to find it,s way in the world and may be tolerated in the home range of its sire seen not more than 6 weeks ago a mile away.It has occurred to me of course that it is this big male but because it was lying down it looked smaller however there are a few defining features mentioned by the witnesses that i ommit from posting in order that witnesses describe fully what they see and not what they think they see which can be worlds apart so i,m pretty sure it,s not him.Further evidence will reveal itself i,m sure or the lack of any will prove otherwise.......