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New homeowner looks out door and comes face to face with panther, Florida video shows

It’s not unheard of for alligators to knock on doors in Florida, but it was a panther that one first-time homeowner found when she looked out her back door in Naples.

Video recorded by Vendela Bjorkqvist shows the adult wildcat was on her porch, studying her family through glass double doors.

“My first uninvited guest last night at the new house,” she wrote in a June 5 Facebook post.

Bjorkqvist purchased the “dream house” in April, not realizing panthers were among her neighbors. She told station WBBH the large cat looked more hungry than “cute and cuddly.”

“All of a sudden I just get this intense feeling that something is staring at me. Really quick, I look over, and there he is. Just staring me down,” she told the station. “If I was outside, I would’ve been scared for my life.”

The video has gotten thousands of reactions on social media, with many noting the cat was both beautiful and scary.

“I would have had a heart attack,” Suebabii Camacho wrote on Facebook.

The encounter was rare, wildlife experts say. Florida’s endangered panthers are notoriously reclusive, with only 120 to 230 adults known to roam the state, according to Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

They are primarily found in Southwest Florida — where Naples is located — but the “breeding population” is restricted to south of Lake Okeechobee, state biologists say. Males can weigh up to 160 pounds and reach “7.2 feet from nose to tip of the tail,” experts say.

There have been several reports of panthers in Naples since 2021, including some recorded walking through neighborhoods after sunset.

Panthers prey on deer, and the discovery of multiple deer carcasses in Naples led the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute to capture two females there in 2021, including one at a country club. The two were fitted with tracking collars and released for research, the institute reported.

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