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Escaped French 'tiger' has changed its stripes

A big cat eluding police near Disneyland Paris is not a tiger, French authorities said, but they do not know exactly what it is.

The creature (inset) popped up near a supermarket, crossed a major road and slinked past a petrol station.

Officials in the Seine-et-Marne region said on Thursday that authorities were searching for a tiger.

But yesterday the administration said "the presence of an animal of the tiger species has proven to be excluded".

The statement was based on analysis of paw prints. It said the animal is a feline, but they are still trying to determine its species.

Two-hundred police, soldiers and others are still searching for it.

A helicopter buzzed over woods and police vehicles lined a grassy area where the feline was spotted.

"He was also seen by truck drivers on the road," Montevrain mayor Christian Robache said.

Police guarded a school as children arrived for class in Montevrain, the town where the animal was first seen near a car park on Thursday.

Tracks were spotted yesterday near the A4 highway between Bussy-Saint-Georges and Ferrieres-en-Brie.

Authorities warned people to stay in cars instead of walking.

Both sites where the animal or its tracks were seen are about 9km from Disneyland Paris.

A wild cat park in the region, the Parc des Felins, said none of its cats are missing.