A young boy who popped to the loo during a football match at his school came face-to-face with a fearsome jaguar that had somehow found its way into one of the cubicles.
The incident took place at the Martha Drummond Fonseca Municipal School in the municipality of Nova Lima in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais on the morning of Saturday, May 21.
Young David Miguel immediately ran outside after being surprised by the growling beast in the toilet, and rushed outside to tell his father.
The nine-year-old lad told local media: “I was trembling like jelly. It went ‘grrr’ and my heart almost stopped.”
David's father Rodrigo Almeida, 34, said: “I thought it was going to be an ocelot, a wild dog or something else. The moment I saw the animal was that size, I ran back.”
The local authorities were called to the scene and the jaguar was shot with a tranquilliser dart and later released back into the wild.
The Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) said the animal was a young female and was unharmed in the incident.
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IBAMA was responsible for releasing the jaguar into its natural habitat.
The jaguar is the largest big cat to be found in the wild on the South American continent, measuring up to six feet in length and weighing as much as 15 stone.
Its powerful jaws enable the jaguar to to bite clean through the skulls of other mammals and shells of turtles.
While they were much feared by early European explorers, jaguars rarely attack humans and the first official record of a jaguar killing a human in Brazil dates to June 2008.
Veterinarian Marcos Mourao, who participated in the rescue, said deforestation is causing an increase in wild animals approaching urban areas.
He said: “We know this has been happening due to increased deforestation, large wildfires, and the destruction of the natural habitat of these animals. Then, in their escape, they end up crossing into towns and cities.”
In the event of coming across any dangerous wild animal, Mourao advised members of the public to avoid making too much noise, leave the area slowly, and contact the emergency services right away.
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