Striped Jaguar

Mystery CAT of South America. Variant name: Striped tiger. Physical description: The same size as a jaguar, which grows to about 5 feet long. Tan, with tigerlike stripes. Head slightly narrower than a jaguar's. Fangs about the same size as a jaguar's. Behavior: Sometimes tracks hunters. Habitat: Rain forest.

Distribution: Rio Abujao, Ucayali Department; Pozuzo, Huanuco Department; Rio Pal-cazu, Pasco Department, Peru. Also reported in Colombia and Ecuador.

Significant sighting: Peter Hocking acquired a skull of this animal in 1992; a hunter had shot the creature in the Pozuzo region of Peru. It apparently exhibits several features distinguishing it from a jaguar's skull, but it remains undescribed.

Possible explanations: An aberrant Jaguar (Panthera onca), a morph, or a new species.

Sources: Peter Mathiessen, The Cloud Forest (New York: Viking, 1961); Peter J. Hocking, "Large Peruvian Mammals unknown to Zoology," Cryptozoology 11 (1992): 38-50; Peter J. Hocking, "Further Investigation into Unknown Peruvian Mammals," Cryptozoology 12 (1996): 50-57.

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