Fact or fiction: panther eats family

I’ve heard this story more than once and was wondering if there is any truth to it. Supposedly a panther is sitting on a man’s porch. It lets out a scream. For those that don’t know, a panther’s scream sounds like a woman’s (or so I’ve heard). The man of the house rushes to the door and opens it to see what’s going on. That’s when the panther attacks the man. After killing the man, it proceeds upstairs to kill the wife and child.

Now this sounds like a definite urban (or rural) legend to me. I can think of several things in this story that are improbable, even if not impossible. However, even if this story did not happen as described, is there a true one like it? Is there any record of a panther entering a house and killing someone at all? When the story was recited to me, I wanted to call the person an idiot for believing this crazy tell, but I guess I better do some research before I do. (Yeah, coming here and posting a question is kind of lazy to be called research but this doesn’t seem like something easy to search for.)

Whoops. This was supposed to be in General Questions. I can be so careless at times.

Is moved.

Who’s the reporter for the way this went down if they were all killed?

I cannot find any reference to such an incident (which may only indicate I’m searching on the wrong terms), but the story as presented has a couple of problems with it.

Panthers kill to eat and they usually begin to feed as soon as their kill is down. (A mother may drag some food back to its kits from time to time.) So there is the initial problem of why the panther would enter the house looking for more prey when it had already killed the man outside the house. Panthers are rather shy and entering a building would seem to be a rash move for an animal that already had a kill outside the home.

Of course, the other problem is in the telling of the story: How does the narrator know why the man went outside? If the rest of the family was killed, who attributed the motives to the man or identified the order of the events?

Gil Grissom.

That was supposed to be in response to astro’s question, Who’s the reporter for the way this went down if they were all killed?

Until our new mod got in the way. Hmmph. :slight_smile:

That’s OK. Grissom is a good answer to my second point, as well. (I hope the scriptwriters don’t mess him up, of course.)

Funny, I thought this thread was about a panther eating its own family.


I can confirm from personal experience that a panther screaming does indeed sound like a woman being murdered. It’s chilling.

Here is a site with the Attacks in the U.S. outside of CA.

I do not see the incident listed (searched using “house” on FIND IN TOP WINDOW)

Really the closest I saw was a husky attacked and killed in its’ dog house


One thing that makes it sound a bit UL-ish is that details are mentioned that might actually not be possible to determine - how do they know the man rushed outside because he heard the noise, for example?

I never said the man went outside. I’m not too clear on the details, which have likely been changed as the story was passed on, whether true or not, but as I recall, it was just said that the man opened the door. I imagined the panther entering the house in order to kill the man. That probably would be less likely than the man being attacked outside though. Assuming the panther did kill the man inside though, I still see no reason why it would hunt the rest of the family upstairs. Animals (except humans, certain aquatic mammals, and maybe some other species) kill only for food or defense. I couldn’t imagine the panther jumping into the house to defend itself, so that only leaves food and I believe one human would fill its appetite. Plus the mother would most likely know a panther was in the house and could easily close the door to whatever room her and the child were in. It just doesn’t add up. I like having other opinions though.

I could imagine there being a witness though, or at least a way to prove what happened. A neighbor could have seen it. More likely though, a panther was just reported in the neighborhood. In recent times, DNA analysis could be done to determine the species. I don’t think it’s unlikely the police would know what happened, just unlikely it would happen in the first place. I’m glad I’m not the only one.