THE latest sighting of a suspected big cat on the loose in Gloucester has triggered fresh speculation wild animals live among city residents.
Mum-of-two Julie Marlow was wary of reporting the sighting for fear of ridicule. But when her friends and neighbours said they had also spotted similar animals, she spoke out.
The 30-year-old city shop assistant was putting her two young boys to bed at their Podsmead home when she saw the unusual sight from her bedroom window on Monday.
"It was twilight and I went to draw the curtains and then saw this thing in Widden Field," she said.
"It was too big to be a fox and it ran like a horse, rather than a bouncing dog. It was moving very fast, covering the length of two football pitches in just a few seconds.
"People think I'm mad but I know what I saw. I was so amazed at what I was looking at I didn't even think about getting my camera out, it was beautiful."
Mrs Marlow said the big cat, dark fawn in colour, was the size of an Alsatian and disappeared along disused railway track towards Crypt School.
"I've told my boys not to be scared of it," she said. "I know these animals are predators but they are not interested in humans and no more dangerous than badgers."
Big cat enthusiast Frank Tunbridge, who lives near to the latest sighting, said: "From the description it sounds like it could be a puma. There is a good chance it was on its way from Robinswood Hill.
"There is usually a plentiful supply of deer and rabbits to feed on, but the heavy rain could have driven it towards more populated areas to scavenge for food."