I had an unusual encounter on one of last weeks walks. Often I am treated to the sight of wildlife and on some occasions it is surprisingly close. As I walked with my dog pack our german shepherd was trotting along in her familiar position in front of me. Suddenly she became distracted by something in the undergrowth off to the side of the track. Whatever the creature was, it was not going to give ground to her and out of the the darkness a barrage of hisses and growls grew in ferocity.
Concerned for the safety of my dog and the creature, I hurried up to join her. Even with me and my other dog the beastie was still not phased and seemed to become more agitated. I considered passing by but the dogs were too interested by now and there was a chance they would slipped back past me in the darkness and returned.
I stepped into the light undergrowth with the dogs sticking close beside me and lit the lantern. A burst of light flooded the area and the creature fled crashing past low branches before jumping over a drainage ditch and making its escape over a field adjoining the wood. I prevented the dogs from chasing to ensure the creature was safely away.
Sadly I could not identify the creature, the noises it made were certainly feline in nature (certainly not the noises of a fox or badger), but I have the feeling it was no farmyard moggy. Perhaps it was a feral cat of some kind, either way it seemed to have the soul of a tiger.