A WOMAN claims to have spotted a 'big black leopard' asleep on a bank in the Blackdown Hills.

Angela Boyd was walking with her dogs when she says she noticed the animal, which had a shiny coat, fast asleep.

She tried her best to get a photo of the creature - but it can be quite hard to make it out.

In the image, a black space can be made out near a large tree branch.

She said: "I took this picture - with just my pocket Lumix camera - when I noticed a big black animal, with shiny coat, lying on a bank.. apparently fast asleep.... he did not notice me stop and take a photo.

"I had hoped to enlarge the photo on the camera's screen, but the battery died, sod's law, and so I returned, with my dogs leashed, to the car.

"Only a few days later, I looked at the photo - and was about to delete it - when I turned the camera to portrait - and looked again at the image- and saw, to my amazement, as I was not really sure what it was until then, that it had a big head and two small pricked ears - on the left side of its body."

Ms Boyd says this isn't the first time an animal of this kind has been spotted on the hills, and urges people to be aware of any dangerous situation they could unknowingly stumble in to.

She added: "I have had many encounters since the 1980s or so with the big cats on the Blackdown Hills and would say to people walking or riding there, to listen to the sounds made by pumas and leopards on the internet, and be aware of them, not just the obvious growling.

"I have been stalked by leopards - and heard them make what is called a sawing noise.

"Anyone hearing this noise should return to their car or go on - and also dog/horse owners should be aware of the body language of their animals.

"If they are really scared, believe them, and turn back.

"I have sent the photo with the black leopard on the bank - as some people think it is a shadow - and another of the bank without the leopard and/or shadow."

This is The West Country: