Just in time for Halloween season, a Mississippi man captured some unsettling footage of a monster-sized feline roaming in a grassy field near a popular fast food restaurant.
David Sluder told WREG that he was picking up some food at a local Wendy’s on Wednesday when he noticed what appeared to be a massive cat walking out of the woods across the street from him.
“I can assure you this is not a house cat,” Sluder said in a Facebook post. “It looks to be the same size as a medium to large dog.”
After WREG shared Sluder’s video on its Facebook page, locals began sounding off about what they believed the prowling creature could have been.
“Are you serious? They are panthers,” one woman wrote. “There have been several around Arlington and Braden as well.”
“Black Panther..Nothing new in Mississippi,” confirmed another. “I know people who’ve lost chickens, small dogs and cats to black panthers in rural Desoto County. They like to strike late at night.”
“Look there was two of them at Wendy’s today.. Come’on!” one man disagreed. “Big well-fed cats, live off of Wendy’s garbage..”
Although multiple people have spotted large cats in Mississippi over the past 30 years, wildlife officials say that big cats like panthers and cougars have been extinct in the state for 100 years due to habitat changes and hunting.
According to the Mississippi State University Extension Service, most biologists credit these sightings to misidentification, released exotic pets or animals passing through from places like Texas where lions still live.