How did a cuddly kitty named Teddy Bear nearly turn the town of Essex, England upside down? Residents were on high alert earlier this week after visitors staying at a caravan park spotted a "very large animal" they believed to be a lion.
Ginny Murphy was out of town when the report made headlines on Sunday, but knew right away that her large cat named Teddy Bear was likely to blame. The owner of the three-year-old Maine Coon says he frequently hunts in the field where the "lion" was spotted.
A reporter from The BBC dropped by Murphy's home to meet the kitty at the center of the controversy, joking, "He was difficult to entice out from under the bed this morning, but we managed to get some shots of him."
A couple who photographed the feline (you can check out their blurry shot here) told police it was "definitely a very large animal, and possibly a lion, definitely a large cat," adding, "We witnessed it, I would say, for about 20 to 30 minutes cleaning itself and rolling about in the field." (Sounds like very ferocious behavior to me.)
In less than a week's time, the Essex Lion sparked national headlines, hoax photos, and its very own Twitter account with 36,000 fans. Experts from the local zoo and as many as 25 police officers using helicopters and thermal imaging equipment were also called in as part of the now defunct search.