Florida Panther, Courtesy Of FWC, Via Creative Commons.
Florida Panther, Courtesy Of FWC, Via Creative Commons.

Mystery Of The Sanibel Panther or Captiva Panther?

Sanibel Rentals, 3-21-15, Panther Speculation On Topix Message Board.

Sanibel Rentals, 3-21-15, Panther Speculation On Topix Message Board.

Update:  Panther On Sanibel & Captiva Islands?

“I saw a panther in that small part of Ding Darling in the middle of the island, I believe in 2009. Please don’t tell me it was a bobcat. Last time I checked, bobcats do not have long slender tails.”

Geoffrey Megargee – February 17, 2016

We originally ran this post in March of last year.  There haven’t been any reported panther sightings on Sanibel or Captiva in the last year, but there have been a number of reports over the years, including as recently as 2014.

We suppose if a black bear can turn up on Sanibel, there is no reason a young panther couldn’t wander or swim its way to Sanibel and Captiva.

You can let us know your thoughts in the comments section at the end of this post!

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Sanibel Rentals, 3-20-15, Sanibel:  Chatter and back and forth continues on message boards on whether there is or there is not a Florida panther on Sanibel & Captiva Islands.

Some state seeing a panther on the islands in the last several months.

A young healthy panther was recently found in a residential neighborhood in Naples, tranquilized, caught and and safely relocated.  It is plausible that a panther could hop scotch a few islands and find itself on Sanibel & Captiva.  Boca Grande and Captiva Passes are not impossible swims, but would seem pretty daunting, treacherous and uninviting for a panther.  Redfish Pass would seem more doable at the right time of day, if it was on the tide change and there was little or no current.

The most likely path for a panther might be the causeway islands.

No credible photos or video have been presented and “Ding” Darling and SCCF cameras haven’t picked

Florida Panther Sightings, Sanibel, Graphic Credit FWC, Via Creative Commons.

Florida Panther Sightings, Sanibel, Graphic Credit FWC, Via Creative Commons.

up a panther in the manner they have documented a black bear and coyotes in recent years.

Young male panthers get “pushed” out of the territory they were born in, generally by their father or another dominant adult panther, and often keep moving restlessly looking to establish their own territory and female panther companionship.  Sanibel & Captiva isn’t such a stretch when one considers a quite large young male panther turned up in Chicago in 2008.  Radio collared young male panthers have been tracked moving more than 600 miles from their birthplaces.

Well, we’ll see how this plays out over time.

Sanibel, Male Florida Panther, In Refuge, File Photo, Courtesy MyFWCmedia, Via Creative Commons.


One thought on “Mystery Of The Sanibel Panther or Captiva Panther?

  1. Marie Meyer says:

    I just wanted to point out that it would be highly, highly unlikely that a Florida panther would ever be found on Sanibel and Captiva. They do not like to swim and avoid human contact at all costs.They are a shy species who prefer upland habitats. Historically, panthers would not be found on barrier islands as their territorial needs would not be met.
    Also, the panther that showed up in Chicago was not from Florida, which your article alludes to, it was from that area.
    I know this is an old article, but thought that it should be pointed out since the species is critically endangered and constantly losing habitat at an alarming rate. Elluding that panthers could be on the island is a misrepresentation of life history for the species and causes confusion, and sometimes fear, for people who don’t know about the species.

    • Charlie, Olivia & Tim Landon says:

      Marie, thanks for the very thoughtful input on Florida Panthers and Sanibel & Captiva.

      You’re probably right that the habitat and territory wouldn’t be enough to sustain an adult panther, but always an interesting to discuss both the allusion to and the potential elusion of the shy and endangered Florida Panther.

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