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WOBBLY WILDCATS: Florida’s feline predators suffering from bizarre affliction

Scientists are stumped as to why these flailing felines are faltering about.

Down in the swamps and marshes of Florida, there are a number of critters who you wouldn’t wish to run across on a humid, moonless night.

The Sunshine State is home to some of the nastiest predators in the United States, and your country club membership won’t keep you safe either.

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And then there’s the invasive python species that are wreaking havoc in The Everglades.

There are even rumors about a Bigfoot-like creature known as the “Skunk Ape” that has been terrifying residents for decades.

But now, a mysterious condition is wreaking havoc among the state’s big cat population and leaving scientists stumped.

The Florida Wildlife and Conservation Commission (FWC) this week announced some of the state’s big cats — namely kittens —  have “exhibited some degree of walking abnormally or difficulty coordinating their back legs.”

So far, FWC officials said they have confirmed neurological damage in one panther and one bobcat, but noted at least eight other panthers and one adult bobcat are also “displaying varying degrees of this condition.”

Trail footage from three counties — Collier, Lee, and Sarasota — shows some cats exhibiting the disorder. In one clip, a kitten loses its balance; its hind legs seem to simply give out. It manages to get up, albeit slowly, before trotting off after its mother.

While there has been no official explanation for the sad state of these creatures, some have hypothesized that a commonly used rat poison may be to blame for the clumsy cats.

 

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