Photo courtesy of Ryan Paces via Nextdoor

From the birds at White Rock Lake to the domesticated chickens in neighbors’ backyards, Lakewood has its fair share of wildlife. Now, a Lakewood Heights neighbor says he saw an ocelot on his back porch.

Ryan Paces shared a photo of a small spotted cat Thursday on Nextdoor.

“It seemed more curious than aggressive because he/she could have snagged our puppy while she was outside for a potty break,” he wrote. “It’s a pretty cat, but I don’t think you want to get a scratch or bite from this guy.”

Ocelots are native to Texas, but sightings are rare. It is estimated that fewer than 120 live in the state, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Some neighbors speculated that the animal was a bobcat, which are more common in urban areas. However, the pictured cat has rounded ears, distinct spots and a long, ringed tale, which are all features of ocelots.

Paces says the cat didn’t appear to be afraid of humans, leading many to believe the animal was an escaped pet. It is legal, but difficult, to keep an ocelot as a pet. Salvador Dali famously had one in the 1960s.

If the cat was an escaped ocelot, it wouldn’t be the first time an exotic pet got loose in the neighborhood. Remember the wandering wallaby?

Texas Parks and Wildlife officials have not yet returned a request to identify the animal. What do you think it is?


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