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posted: 1/9/2010 12:01 AM

Cougar sighting near Naperville?

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I wish to caution people about leaving their pets outside in DuPage County. We were driving back from a luncheon at my sister's on Dec. 31. It was a late lunch and we were getting back after 5 p.m., and we had just driven past the intersection of Naperville and Warrenville roads.

The moon was full and the streetlights were bright upon the snow. You could see clearly into the wooded are about 20 feet off the road. There in the white snow was what I can best describe as a black mountain lion, cougar or panther. I was amazed at the size of this animal as it was gracefully walking through the snow between bushes and trees.

It stepped out into full view and it was huge with a huge black tail. It looked at least three feet in length. I thought that these large predators cannot live in this area. I go to the zoos and watch " Animal Planet" and I know what I was seeing in the snow.

I had heard reports about a large cougar-like animal seen in Wheaton along the bike path and also in DeKalb, but there it was clearly in the snow. I know this was New Year's Eve but this was early in the evening and we are not drinkers.

I just got worried about small children since cougars have been known to attack bike riders. Now I do not want to go walking or riding my bike with this large predator in the DuPage County vicinity.

Valerie Benson