JERUSALEM – A man clad only in underwear and a T-shirt wrestled a wild leopard to the floor and pinned it for 20 minutes after the cat leapt through a window of his home and hopped into bed with his sleeping family.
"This kind of thing doesn't happen every day," said 49-year-old Arthur Du Mosch, a nature guide. "I don't know why I did it. I wasn't thinking, I just acted."
Raviv Shapira, who heads the southern district of the Israel Nature and Parks Protection Authority, said a half dozen leopards have been spotted recently near Du Mosch's small community of Kibbutz Sde Boker in the Negev desert in southern Israel, although they rarely threaten humans.
Shapira said it was probably food that lured the big cat. Leopards living near humans are usually too old to hunt in the wild and resort to chasing down domestic dogs and cats for food, he added.
Du Mosch's cat was in the bed with him at the time, along with his young daughter who had been frightened by a mosquito in her own room.
Shapira said the leopard was very weak when park rangers arrived at Du Mosch's home after the surprise late-night visit. He said nature officials would likely release it back into the wild.
Du Mosch said he probably would not have been able to control the big cat were it in better health. As a nature guide, he said, he was familiar with animals and did his best to hold down the leopard without harming it. He said he took it all in stride, "but the kids were excited."