A TERRIFIED dog walker fled for his life after a close encounter with what he suspected was a puma.
John Powell and his Labrador cross TJ were frightened by the howl they heard and the green eyes he saw, apparently stalking them on the edge of woodland in the Forest of Dean.
Big cat tracker Frank Tunbridge believes the noise it made was that of a puma calling for its mate.
"It was heard out on the green near our house and others at Christmas," said Mr Powell, 73, who saw the creature's eyes while walking TJ around three weeks ago near his home at Ellwood, near Coleford.
"My dog was on edge and I had a big searchlight torch with me and it picked up a pair of big, green eyes. They disappeared but the noise was still coming.
"It frightened me to death – it sounded like it was by the side of me. Two green eyes were looking at me, 50 to 60 yards away. The dog and I hared it home."
After reading of numerous big cat sightings in The Citizen, he contacted Mr Tunbridge.
Mr Powell said Mr Tunbridge's mimicking of the roar was as he heard it.
"It's a puma, calling for it's mate," said Mr Tunbridge. "There have been many sightings in the Forest of Dean and this is consistent with a lot of them."
The sighting comes as what is believed to be the biggest fox killed in Britain was shot in Scotland. It weighed 38lbs 1oz and measured 4ft 9in from nose to tail. The average weight for a fox in the UK is around 15lbs.
"It may be that foxes are getting bigger due to the amount of food about, but just like in the human race, there are examples of all shapes and sizes," said Mr Tunbridges.