missing tiger
The tiger is now in custodyConroe Police Department

A Texas man got the shock of his life when he spotted a tiger in some bushes near his house, and the animal proceeded to run up to him and lick him on the face.

Jonathan Gessner, from Conroe in Montgomery County, saw the young tiger and ignored his instinct to run away, instead wanting to see what the tiger would do as it started shaking its body before springing out of the bushes.

"Out of nowhere it took off running towards me, put her paws on my shoulders and started licking me in the face," Gessner told the Houston Chronicle. "I was really scared at first."

The friendly tiger not only appeared to like humans, but was wearing a collar, leading police to deduce the female animal was a missing, and somewhat unusual, pet.

On the Conroe Police's Facebook page, the authorities wrote: "Very interesting post.... Today the Conroe Police Department received a report of a tiger wandering the area of Coral Cove Pass near Longmire and League Line.

"Animal control officers were able to locate and capture the animal. We are asking for assistance in locating the owner. The female tiger has a collar and a leash."

The post has sparked debate on social media, with some calling the owner irresponsible for allowing the big cat to escape, and police stating the owner – if they are from Conroe – would be issued a citation for losing the tiger.

It is legal for people in Conroe to keep big cats as pets, but an incident such as allowing a tiger to escape would mean the owner would lose their right to keep the animal in the city.