Has The Surrey Puma Struck Again? Unknown Carcas found in a tree. July 2020

A young woman out walking with her daughter on the Box Hill Play Trail on 29th July 2020 shared a strange photograph on Facebook of a skull and verterbrae that was spotted in the area. The lady stated "Does anyone know what the skeleton is? My 6 year old spotted it and was fascinated by it, it was like a fox sized head, with a long neck bone, this was found at Box Hill in Surrey, UK!!

This could be the remains of a meal, left by the Surrey Puma. In the last three centuries there have been over 400 reported sightings of this not so mysterious beast. With sightings of the Large Non Native Cat from Bookham and Croydon to Abinger and Woldingham it continues to be spotted by locals and visitors a like. William Cobbett, a farmer from Farnham in west Surrey, stated that he was by a hollow elm tree near Waverley Abbey in 1770 as a little boy when he spotted "a big grey cat, as big as a middle-sized spaniel dog". The farmer compared it to a "great wild grey cat" that he had seen while in New Brunswick which he stated "seemed to me to be just such a cat as I had seen at Waverley".

Since that first account, spotting's of the strange cat are not seemingly known to have occurred again until the 1930s with sightings across the county at places including Abinger Hammer, Abinger Common, Ewell, Woldingham, Oxted and Croham Hurst Golf Club in South Croydon as well as in Hampshire. The first time there was physical evidence from a sighting was in 1955, when a lady walking her dog in Abinger Hammer found "a mutilated dead calf" and claimed she "was shocked to see a puma-like animal slinking away from the scene". Sadly no forensic tests were carried out at the time. In 1964, there was a reported sighting by "a man picking blackberries in his lunch hour near the water tower on Munstead Heath" who "left rather hurriedly", the animal was described as three feet high, five feet long, with a cat's face and long tail. The sighting led to a trail pf paw-prints being found a few days later nearby which ended at a fence.
Several other sightings that month as well as a deer and a cow reportedly being attacked by an animal leaving "terrible scratches" led to naturalist Dr Maurice Burton investigating plaster casts of the prints alongside London Zoo and Surrey Police, but Alexander states that the average puma paw is 3/4 inch (19 mm) smaller than the cast, which would mean the animal that made it would have been much bigger than any eyewitness has said.

During June and July of this year, there was another strange animal carcas, also found in Surrey that raised the question, Has the Surry Puma been on the prowl. John Moorwood, 47, from Woking, stumbled on the gruesome sight while walking with his 12-year-old son Fred in The Hurtwood, near Peaslake on Sunday - and was immediately convinced it was something out of the ordinary. Pictures taken at the scene show little more than a rib cage and some legs which have been ripped from the carcass. Mr Moorwood said: "We heard the unbelievably intense sound of flies buzzing and saw something bright red in the middle of the track.

"A dead animal isn't unusual on a countryside walk but as I got closer, I realised it was quite a big carcass, that of a deer. "I was surprised by the apparent fresh nature of it and the way it had been stripped right down to the bone. "There was no rotten smell, which also told me it was fresh. "The idea that something had completely stripped the deer carcass in what looked like a night or morning's work is what sparked my curiosity." Mr Moorwood said his thoughts turned to the famous legend, adding: "The sight was enough for me to Google 'big cats' in the area we were in. "It's hard to imagine a native predator taking down a deer, or even finding one dead and stripping it clean in so little time."

Do you know of any strange animal kills, or sightings of large none native cats in the area. If so please get in touch.