Giant Cats: The Beast of Exmoor

The place: Devonshire, England, the culprit: “a giant cat.” The first report regarding the “Beast of Exmoor” originated during the spring of 1983, when farmer, Eric Ley claimed that one of his ewes was killed by something quite unexplainable. Following the unusual animal slaying, he claimed to have lost an additional 100 sheep over the next 2 ½ months. What was different about this predator’s method of killing, is that instead of attacking the hindquarters like a dog or fox would do, the sheep had their throats torn out by the predator.


Many witnesses state that the “beast” is similar to that of a giant, jet-black cat, with a length of eight feet from the tip of its nose to its tail. Others claim that the creature is tan in color, exhibiting the features of a large puma. A few reports document the existence of the sight of “giant felines” that were both black and tan in color. More than one creature was spotted at the same time. A lesser-known description focuses on a large animal that favors an unusual-looking canine.


The earliest reports of such a creature date back to the early 70s, which were ignored and dismissed until the incident regarding Ley’s sheep. At one point, a sort of hunt was initiated where the Royal Marines spread across the area, in hopes of shooting down the creature that was causing such a stir. There was even a reward for such a capture or kill, but no one was able to deliver. Some claimed to have seen a large, black animal, but even the best of sharpshooters could not pinpoint the beast. After their departure, the attacks resumed as usual.


Reported in 1988, another farmer spotted what he described as being a giant cat that leaped a hedge that was located 15 feet away from where he was standing. The large cat held a sizable lamb in its mouth as it cleared the hedge. Three years later, a large cat with panther-like qualities was spotted near a family’s house where they spent a few minutes watching its every move. The son of the family claimed that he had seen the same creature climbing a tree close to the house. 


These giant cats have been sighted throughout the countryside of southwestern England by a number of people who live in some of the wildest areas. They all describe an encounter with some sort of beast that resembles a very big cat.


Some of the tales accompanying these accounts state that these creatures are paranormal manifestations. Others state that people are actually seeing large dogs and mislabeling them as large cats. Many find it hard to believe the size of the creature that is being described, so the theory of “giant cats” is dismissed and deemed a miscalculation of its actual size. It has been thought that there exists a small population of breeding pumas that can be found throughout the West Country in England. These cats are believed to have been let loose by individuals who thought it was a cute idea to keep such an animal as a household pet. There are also theories that stem from a belief that Britain has always possessed a large cat species that dates back to a prehistoric era.


The only non-domesticated feline species documented in England, is a small wild cat that resides in rugged territory.