Drama ensued in a city suburb on Sunday as a male leopard strayed into the area scaring the residents, only to be trapped by forest personnel in the bathroom of a house and released into nearby forest later.
Three persons, including a fire and rescue service personnel, suffered minor injuries as they fell while taking to their heels on hearing the big cat's growling, police said.
A three-and-half-year-old leopard was first sighted in the compound of a locked house in Tirumalnagar near Reddiarpatti and as people gathered in large numbers to see the feline, it panicked and started running away.
The animal then quitely entered the bathroom in the backyard of the house of one Subramaniam, who found it cooling its heels there when he went to answer nature's call.
Showing presence of mind, he locked the door of the bathroom and alerted the forest department.
A team of forest personnel, led by Deputy Director of Kallakadu Mundathuru Tiger Reserve Forest Pillai Vinayagam and Tirunelveli Chief Conservator of Forest Venkatesan, managed to tranquilise the wild cat by firing a sedative.
Later, they removed the leopard, weighing 150 kg, and released it into the Papanasam forest area.
Forest officials suspect the leopard could have come from nearby Vallanadu/Muthur reserve forest.