This is the real deal, friends. Not a cheesy low-res photo or an intentionally obtuse shot with three pixels of a tail visible.
There’s a cat in this photo — a puma to be exact — and finding it is a good reminder of how awesome these elusive felids are, as well as how well they hide themselves from humans and fellow wildlife alike:
The photo comes courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Services and eagle-eyed photographer John Tull, who spotted the well-hidden cat in rural Washoe County, Nevada.
Mountain lions are the second-largest cats in the Americas behind jaguars, and although they look like lionesses, they pose little danger to humans. About 15 people have died in conflicts with mountain lions over the past 100 years. Dogs, by contrast, kill between 30 and 50 people a year.
Mountain lions are also known as pumas, cougars, catamounts and panthers, among other names. The word “panther” is a nonspecific word for large cats and is often used in association with jaguars and leopards.
Known scientifically as puma concolor, these mysterious cats are more closely related to small cats (felis) than big cats (panthera), and have the distinction of being the largest cats who can meow.