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Mongoose
The Bhootbilli, also known as the "ghost cat" is a creature that has been reported in a neighborhood near Pune, India. This large feline cryptid has consumed forty-five pigeons and one goat belonging to an unlucky resident.

The sightings of the creature have been in the Sanjay Park neighborhood ~100 miles outside of Mumbai. From MiD DAY:

"The Bhootbilli has been coming every day the past 10 days around 7 pm. We had set up a lot of traps, but all turned into a flop show because whenever we would try to catch it, it would jump on the tree and sneak out somewhere," said Feroz Dilawar Khan, a driver and resident of the area. "It's fat and broad with a long tail, black in colour, has a face like a dog and back like a mongoose."

The Bhootbilli, as it is called by the residents, has eaten around forty-five pigeons and one goat within a span of 10 days which all belonged to Feroz.

Fed-up of the creature, Feroz called the police, fire brigade and forest officials on November 3rd around 10 pm, but the effort went in vain. "We arrived at the spot around 10 pm, but the animal had already escaped and hid somewhere in the trees," said one of the fire officials from Yerawada, who was at the spot.

The residents have again set a trap and are expecting to catch the mischief-maker this time. Hrishikesh Sutar, chairman of the Sanjay Park Society, said: "The residents came complaining to me around four days ago and we haven't yet identified the creature. It's smaller than a lion but bigger than a hyena and I doubt if it's a wild cat."

Sightings

In North America, they might be called Mystery Cats or Phantom Panthers, but the Bhootbilli, The Ghost Cat of India, seems to inhabit a similar location in that country’s mentality.

Bhootbilli

The Box where Feroze Khan's pigeons were picked up by the creature

This report issues from a place called Pune, India. The name Pune derives from Punya Nagari (Sanskrit, “City of Virtue”). It is a relatively hilly city, with its tallest hill, Vetal Hill, rising to 800 m (2,600 ft) above sea level. Central Pune is located at the confluence of the Mula and Mutha rivers. Pune (Marathi: पुणे, pronounced [puɳeː]), formerly called Poona, also known as Punya-Nagari, is the eighth largest metropolis in India, the second largest in the state of Maharashtra, after Mumbai and the largest city in the Western Ghats. Pune has a tropical wet and dry climate with average temperatures ranging between 68 to 82 °F (20 to 28 °C).

This report is passed along to me by Chad Arment, the author of the new book, Varmints: Mystery Carnivores of North America, and his recent classic, Boss Snakes: Stories and Sightings of Giant Snakes in North America.

A “weird, scary creature” has been giving residents of Sanjay Park area sleepless nights. Those staying near the airport in Lohegaon are complaining about a Bhootbilli (ghost cat), which they say has been feeding on domestic animals and birds the past 10 days.

For several people, the incident brought to mind the monkey-man episode, a ‘monster’ that was reportedly roaming around Delhi in 2001.

“The Bhootbilli has been coming every day the past 10 days around 7 pm. We had set up a lot of traps, but all turned into a flop show because whenever we would try to catch it, it would jump on the tree and sneak out somewhere,” said Feroz Dilawar Khan, a driver and resident of the area. “It’s fat and broad with a long tail, black in colour, has a face like a dog and back like a mongoose.”

The Bhootbilli, as it is called by the residents, has eaten around 45 pigeons and one goat within a span of 10 days which all belonged to Feroz.

Indiapigeon

Dead Pigeon in India

Fed-up of the creature, Feroz called the police, fire brigade and forest officials on November 3 around 10 pm, but the effort went in vain. “We arrived at the spot around 10 pm, but the animal had already escaped and hid somewhere in the trees,” said one of the fire officials from Yerawada, who was at the spot.

The residents have again set a trap and are expecting to catch the mischief-maker this time. Hrishikesh Sutar, chairman of the Sanjay Park Society, said: “The residents came complaining to me around four days ago and we haven’t yet identified the creature. It’s smaller than a lion but bigger than a hyena and I doubt if it’s a wild cat.”

What could it be?

Shekhar Nanajkar, president of a Wild, a wildlife organisation, said: “It’s a rare case but according to the description given to me it can be a civet cat who attacks only small animals and birds. But if a goat has been eaten then it’s either a leopard or human being.”

Anil Avchite, an animal lover, who had gone to the area around midnight on Wednesday, said: “I climbed up a 40-feet coconut tree as soon as the locals contacted me. I am sure it’s a civet cat. I have asked locals to get in touch with me if they see the creature again.”

Also, attached to the article are these definitions:

Delhi’s monkey-man

A strange, monkey-like creature had been appearing at night and attacking people in Delhi in 2001. Many thought a man dressed as a monkey was intimidating people, but he was never caught

The civet cat

A civet is a small, lithe-bodied, mostly arboreal mammal native to the tropics of Africa and Asia. Civets have a broadly cat-like general appearance though the muzzle is extended and often pointed, rather like an otter or a mongoose.

Speculation

There are four primary explanations for the Bhootbilli. The first is, of course, a new species of wild cat or mustelid, though this is the least likely scenario.

Another possible explanation is a black panther. Contrary to popular belief, panthers are not a species of wild cat but are instead a melanistic coloration of one of three types of cat: leopards, jaguars or cougars. In this case, it would be a melanistic leopard (jaguars appearing in South America and cougars appearing in North America). Evidence for this being the culprit are the noted coloration and the descriptions of it being smaller than a lion yet bigger than a hyena.

The other two likely explanations are the civet cat and the related binturong. While the exact species of civet would not be immediately obvious, the large Indian civet may be the best bet due to it being one of the largest civets and also being native to India. This species, however, does not fit the black-hued description that has been given; however, the binturong does. However, while binturongs are larger than large Indian civets they are also stockier, being known as "bearcats" for a reason. It ought to be noted also that civets and binturong are occasionally kept as pets, and, therefore, the culprit's species does not have to be indigenous to the area to be found on an individual or small feral group basis

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