A holidaymaker was shocked after he caught a suspected PUMA on camera prowling a field.
Max Tennant says he is now convinced big cats are patrolling the wild after he spotted the ‘massive’ creature just metres ahead of him.
He watched it for 30 seconds on the cliffs above Lee Bay, near Woolacombe, Devon, on Tuesday afternoon and took a series of blurry pictures on his mobile phone before his dogs disturbed the creature.
It is the latest in a spate of big cat sightings in the area in recent weeks.
After taking photographs Max then met a local sheep farmer who has also seen the beast in the area and believes it is responsible for killing livestock locally – including one sheep carcass found in a tree.
Max, 54, a financial advisor of Bristol, was on holiday with his partner, their two kids and two dogs, when he came across the creature.
He photographed the cat on his mobile phone camera but says the images don’t convey how big the animal was.
He said: “It was like nothing I had ever seen before. I’ve got seven or eight snaps of it in different positions but they are not great quality as it was on my phone.
“At first I thought it was a fox as it was quite reddish in colour. Then I realised it was way too big and the tail was massive. I’ve got a large border collie and it was much bigger than my dog – and the tail was about another metre long, with a distinctive big white bobble on the end.
“It had black marks on its face. When we Googled pumas we found they can come in a variety of colours.
“I wasn’t scared, I was just curious. I crouched down very low and then my dogs came up behind me and it looked at me and then disappeared with one leap.
“I sat there watching it for about 30 seconds walking up and down the edge of the gorse.”
Max added: “I was walking with my family and two dogs. I left them all about 400m behind as I wanted to go to the brow of the hill to see the view. That’s when I saw the creature which I now think is a puma.
“Afterwards we went to an event at Lee village hall and I spoke to a woman who is a sheep farmer. She had seen it too. She found a dead sheep in a tree and had another one badly mauled on its shoulder.
“She says when they shear the sheep a few of them have scratches and bite marks on their skin.
“I didn’t believe in the Beast of Exmoor stories until I saw it for myself. Now I know there are big cats out there.
“I have absolutely no doubt at all that it was a big cat. It is just a shame the picture I got was not better as I only managed to get one on my phone.
“I realised what it was after about five seconds. I was not scared but was really curious and felt extremely excited. I could not believe it. I was disappointed in the quality of the picture but knew this was a once in a lifetime experience.
“Everyone in the village were absolutely sure a big cat was operating in the area.
“I did not give this a second thought before and it never crossed my mind that they were out there. I am was really shocked and surprised to come across one, especially in the middle of the day.”