'Stray Lion' Alert Leads to Much More Innocuous Find

It was a shopping bag with a lion's face on it in the bushes outside a Kenyan home
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2022 9:53 AM CDT
Updated May 8, 2022 11:35 AM CDT
'Stray Lion' in Bushes Was Just a Shopping Bag
Stock photo (probably not a bag).   (Getty Images/Azim_Khan_Ronnie)

(Newser) – A farmhand in Kenya may be feeling a little foolish today, but also pretty lucky: His anxiety-ridden "stray lion" sighting turned out not to be a lion after all. The BBC reports on the incident that took place in Kinyana, a village not far from Mount Kenya National Park, when said farmhand noticed what he thought was a lion peering out from a bush just outside his boss's residence. And so, because "lions are definitely not to be messed with," per NPR, the farmhand quickly notified local wildlife officials, who showed up at the home armed and ready to take on the ferocious feline.

The homeowner arrived home in the middle of the commotion and was hustled into the house through an alternate door further away from the bush and alleged big cat. In the meantime, the wardens started scoping out the surroundings, and one of them opened the window above the bush from the inside. When the officials peered out, they discovered that "the supposed lion didn't have a body—and was in fact a shopping bag," albeit one with a very realistic-looking lion's face imprinted across the front of it (we're not exaggerating; see a photo here).

That was when the homeowner remembered she'd put some avocado tree seedlings in the bag and left them outside so they wouldn't dry out. She hadn't connected the dots when she was initially told about the lion hiding in her hedges. Although no stray lions have been spotted in the village of late, the moderate hysteria was somewhat understandable, as some locals' livestock have recently gone missing, the local chief tells the BBC. "We treated the incident with a lot of caution and seriousness," he notes. (Read more strange stuff stories.)

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