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Mammal, Marsupial, Carnivoran, Felid, Big cat
Carnivore, Out-of-place, Prints casted, Featured in Native folklore
The Warrigal (also spelled Waregal) is an unidentified species of big cat mainly reported in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, possibly into the Central Tablelands as well. warrigals are described as a muscular lion-like animal with a 6 to 7 feet long body, 3 feet high at the shoulders. It is covered in light- to dark-brown fur and has a long-shaggy mane. Notably it is said to have large, protruding teeth. It leaves large, catlike tracks 5-6 inches long and 5 inches wide, and set 9.5 inches apart. Unlike smilodons, which they resemble, their sabre teeth jut out of their mouth, instead of having a pouch for them beneath its chin. Typically their fur is black or dark russet colour.
Some speculate the warrigal is an unknown species of big cat native to Australia, while others speculate they are escaped pets, although folklore of warrigals predate European contact. Australian cryptozoologist Rex Gilroy speculates the warrigal is some kind of unknown marsupial, possibly related to Tasmanian tigers or thylacoleo that convergently evolved a cat-like build, similar, or possibly related to, the extinct South American thylacosmilus, a genus of sparassodont, an extinct order of mammals closely related to marsupials that died out 3 million years ago.
The first recorded sighting was in 1889 when livestock was killed by a warrigal in the Megalong Valley. In April 1945, a bushwalking party travelling down Mount Solitary's Korrowal Buttress claimed to have observed four warrigals moving across Cedar Valley with their binoculars. In 1955, Blue Mountains police and hunters went on a search of the rainforest between Wentworth Falls and the Blaxland-Glenbrook area after reports of a large, shaggy-haired, lionlike animal was killing livestock.
In 1972, a warrigal was reported in the Mulgoa District during a series of sheep mutilations in the area. In 1977, three young hunters in the eastern Blue Mountains reported seeing a black, sabre-toothed lion-like creature slowly following them. The creature only ran away and gave up once they fired their gun at it. In February of 2001, two bushwalkers claimed to have seen a strange, black man-sized animal perched on a tree eating a wallaby in the Wollangambie Wilderness. The last known sighting was in January of 2019.