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This particular Panther Crossing is an interesting case and has been the cause of some confusion.


The "Florida panther" is not a "Black Panther", the Florida panther is a sub species of the cougar. The Florida panther does have some physical distinctions, having adapted to life in Floridas woodlands and swamps, but overall it is similar in form & color to its North American cousin the cougar. 


There have been reports of melanistic cougars, and cougars do have black hairs and dark fur on parts of their bodies, but I have never seen any hard evidence of a black one.


Folks have brought up the fact that they have seen signs in Florida which show a "black" panther crossing the road. The sign that they are referring to is the one shown above.


Just for the record this sign is a "silhouette", and is not intending to represent the Florida panther as being black. The coat of a Florida Panther is a tawny color.


I have also been asked "then why did the sign show it was black and not tawny?"


I suspect that the reason is the black figure has more contrast on the yellow background, and therefore would be more visible especially at night. If the sign showed a tawny colored cat it would be more difficult to see and would not stand out against the yellow.


Here is a souvenir sign that I collected which shows the truer color. If this sign were posted on the roads, I dont think it would be as effective, it's not as obvious from a distance and would likely be a lot more expensive to produce. There are many other wildlife road signs that appear in silhouette: bear, deer, raccoon, gator, turtle, even moose.


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