A couple were left shocked when they saw this massive, puma-like creature on their early morning walk - and believe it may have been the infamous 'Beast of Trowbridge'.
Herbert and Doreen Smith saw the unusual animal while walking in Murhill Woods, in Trowbridge, Wiltshire last week.
Mr Smith, 71, said they observed the animal catching and then eating some prey.
Cat-ch me if you can: Herbert and Doreen Smith spotted this large feline in Trowbridge, Wiltshire
Brush with the beast: The couple were just feet away from what they believe could be the Beast of Trowbridge, a puma or panther spotted for years in the area
He said: 'Our first impression was sheer astonishment. We really could not believe our eyes at what we were seeing.
'The animal was eating what we believe it had just caught.
'There was a lot of rabbits about so I expect it was having breakfast.
'I was about 20ft away from it while it was eating. It looked up at me for a couple of seconds, then resumed eating.
'If it wasn't for my wife tugging at my arm to get me out of there, I would have stayed observing this magnificent animal.'
The Smiths are not the first to spot the creature which has been dubbed the 'Beast of Trowbridge' by locals and there have been numerous sightings over the years.
Described as a puma or panther, the animal has also been seen in nearby Staverton and Westbury Leigh.
A PANTHER ON THE PROWL OR JUST A DOMESTIC CAT?
The Beast of Trowbridge has been likened to the colour and size of a panther (file pic)
Sightings of the 'Beast of Trowbridge' have been reported for years, but there was a sudden flurry in 2009.
Chauffer Mark Jenner, 34, of Trowbridge, spotted what he believed was a big cat lurking by the side of a road between Bradford on Avon and Bath.
He told The Wiltshire Times: 'I could see these large reflective eyes and thick black coat, it was much larger than a cat.'
Den Owen, 39, of Trowbridge, also spotted the beast twice in the space of a week, while driving towards home.
At the time she said: 'It ran across the road like only a cat could. It had its back down and its tail out flat. It was around five and a half foot long and the height of a dog.”
Meanwhile Pamela Thomson, of Chapmanslade, claimed she had a close encounter with a big black cat six years ago in Westbury Leigh.
She took a photograph of the four-inch paw print it left on her car.
In another incident, songwriter Mike Booth, of Marlborough,told the newspaper that he saw a large cat crossing the road in front of him.
Also in 2009, shop worker Allyson Jones told how she came face to face with the big cat dubbed the 'Beast of Trowbridge'.
Miss Jones, 38, a beauty specialist, was driving on the B3107 between Bradford on Avon and Holt when she saw the beast in the path of her car.
She said: 'I thought it was going to eat me. It had just jumped out of a hedge and stood in the path of my car staring at me.
'It's eyes were red because of my headlights, which I then turned off because I know that with other animals, like deer, you turn your lights off and they run away.
'The cat ran away and headed in the direction of Trowbridge.'
Jim Holt, 52, from Trowbridge, also saw the beast.
He said: 'This cat ran out of the trees across the road and it was then that I saw this creature just looking out from the trees.
'It just lay there and stared. It is definitely a large cat-like creature from what I could tell.'
Rita Fielding, 73, of Bradford on Avon, spotted a big cat in 2010.
She said: 'I looked over and saw a massive black cat in some dead grass by the bank. I turned to tell my neighbour and it had gone by the time I looked back.
'What struck me is that it was so very very black and was much bigger than a dog.'
Meanwhile Jim Connor, 73, and his wife Anna, 71, have seen a panther-like creature in Trowbridge and Westbury.
He said: 'I've seen it walking up the drive in the middle of the night without a care in the world.