Kibambangwe

Dark Leop ARD of Central Africa.

Etymology: Bantu languages, "snatcher," a term also used for hyenas.

Variant names: Kikambangwe, Uruturangwe. Physical description: Size of a leopard. Dark color. Blackish markings. Small ears. Retractile claws. Long tail.

Behavior: Mostly nocturnal. Cry is a few deep grunts followed by high-pitched shrieks. Comes down from the mountains to kill livestock. Ferocious if cornered. Said to enter huts and suffocate sleeping people by lying on them and putting its jaws around their faces. Habitat: Lava caves in the mountains. Distribution: Bufumbira County, southwestern Uganda; Virunga Volcanos region, Rwanda.

Significant sighting: In 1920, a dark mystery animal called a Kibambangwe killed livestock in Bufumbira County, Uganda, but it was never captured.

Possible explanations:

(1) A large, dark-colored Spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta).

(2) A pseudomelanistic Leopard (Panthera pardus var. melanotica), with dark coloration.

(3) A nonexistent composite creature based on both hyenas and leopards.

Sources: Charles R. S. Pitman, A Game Warden among His Charges (London: Nisbet, 1931), pp. 304-308; Karl Shuker, Mystery Cats ofthe World (London: Robert Hale, 1989), pp. 135-136.

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