LAURENS COUNTY, Ga. — Over the weekend, a man in Laurens County made a Facebook post about an alleged 'black panther' sighting that had the internet buzzing.
The post was shared hundreds of times and even had some people concerned about letting their kids or pets outside.
But is it true? We set out to Verify whether the post is true.
So let's start with breaking down this Facebook post. It shows a picture of a black panther, animal tracks, and some other beast.
A guy named Hunter Bennett claims to have spotted all these things on his Laurens County land.
"So I made a quick Facebook post and it went viral," says Bennett.
The post drew hundreds of comments with people asking things like, "Is this really on your property?" or commenting that they, too, had seen a black panther around Laurens County.
So we asked the Georgia Department of Natural Resources if there was any truth to this.
By e-mail, DNR Public Affairs rep Lacey Creech says, "We are unaware of any credible black panther sightings in the state of Georgia.
DNR Senior Wildlife Biologist Greg Waters says you'd be more likely to see an elephant that escaped from a zoo or in someone's backyard than you would a black panther.
So we verified this post is fake.
In fact, Bennett admits the post was a joke started between friends and he was surprised that so many people fell for it.
"No part of me feeding a black panther Kibbles 'n Bits, and the Catahoula Forestry Service, and a 12-kitten litter of black panthers, and a Bigfoot sounds legit whatsoever," says Bennett.
Laurens County Sheriff Larry Dean says it's a good reminder not to post "fake news."
"Facebook is a great source of media, but fake stories will put people in a panic, so I'm just asking if you do have a real sighting, report it. We will come out and look," says Dean.
And if you ever do spot a real wild animal that looks out of place, you can contact your local sheriff's department, or the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division at 706-557-3333.