MYSTERIOUS footprints in the snow have caused debate as to whether they belong to a large dog or a big cat.

The snowy paw prints were spotted on New Year's Eve near Bangor and shared with Puma Watch North Wales.

The photo was shared by Sophie Van Neste.

Many people have said they were made by a dog, as claw marks can be seen.

However, big cat investigator Frank Tunbridge who has been on the trail of elusive beasts in Wales, Scotland and England for 40 years, says its not that simple.

He says big cats can often use their claws when crossing icy or muddy terrain.

He said: "If a cat is trying to stay on an icy bonnet, you will get scratches on your car. It's the same principle.

"I have seen photographs of mountain lion footprints in the snow and these tracks are almost identical."

He said that whether the tracks are alongside human footprints also need to be considered, as this would point to a dog. And that tracks in a straight line would point to a big cat, wheras dogs are more likely to run in all directions when off the lead.

Ohers on social media say the sheer size of the tracks points to something more like a puma or panther. 

North Wales has seen a number of big cat sightings over the past three months, including ones in Corwen, Pontybodkin, Abergele, and Snowdonia.

The prints were spotted near the village of Rhiwlas.

Tony Jones, of Puma Watch North Wales, said: "The footprints in the snow are pretty captivating on first glance, perhaps due to the sheer size of one of them.

"It looks like there could be some claw marks which would suggest these are more likely to be a large dog than a big cat, but there's not enough to go on to be decisive either way.

"Rhiwlas is definitely a viable location for a sighting though, while it has a Bangor address it's well up on the foothills of Snowdonia and the deserted uplands."

People have speculated on social media.

Hollie Cooper: "Large breed dog. Clear claw marks."

Lynsey Kelly said: "Clear claw marks. Large dog I would say."

Francesca Zuniga said: "Bigger than my 6ft Pyrenees mountain dog's print."