HERNANDO, MS (WMC) - A large animal that appeared near a Wendy’s in Hernando, Mississippi, has residents perplexed. A Facebook video of the animal was shared of 3,000 times Wednesday.
"That is an absolutely enormous something over there," a voice can be heard saying on the video.
"It was a big ole cat," said Schronda Scott, a Wendy's employee who saw the animal.
David Sluder was the one who shot the video on his cellphone showing the large animal minding its own business.
"I've never seen anything that big," he said. "The cops and everyone were like, 'holy cow that's not a house cat that's a large animal.'"
Sluder, who was about 100 yards away when he shot the video, said the animal casually walked out of the woods near the Wendy's.
"I thought it was like a mountain lion," said Crystal Gutierrez, who also works at Wendy's and saw the animal.
A wildlife expert told WMC Action News 5 if you spot this animal, or one like it, don't approach it, don't feed it, and definitely, don't corner it.
Biologists say without catching the animal, it's tough to say for sure what it is, though it's possible it could be a black panther, a cougar, or a mountain lion.
They say panthers haven't been documented in Mississippi in more than a hundred years, and those spotted 10 years ago in South Dakota. are making their way down South.
They have been seen in Missouri, Arkansas, and parts of West Tennessee.
"I want to see it caught because I've got to come here every morning, and I don't want it to meet me at my car," Scott said.
A photo surfaced on Facebook claiming that the animal had been shot and killed; however, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks told WMC5 that the photo of the dead panther is not the panther that was spotted in Hernando.