The infatuated leopard experience

July 24, 2014 • 12:39 pm

Voilà: a gif from The Meta Picture. Their notes:

Pardus is a black leopard that is currently a part of the Cheetah Experience, a big cat centre that was founded in 2006 with the long-term goal of breeding cheetahs.

Pardus is very enthusiastic about people. Here’s what happens when Pardus notices his favorite zoo keeper is visiting.


Her name is Juhi Agrawal and she works for Cheetah Experience. They have Cheetahs, Lions, Leopards and other animals and Juhi has been able to work closely with them all.

Three notes:

1. The Cheetah Experience is located in South Africa, and is devoted to saving endangered species of cats.

2. The “black leopard” is simply a genetic mutation in the regular leopard, Panthera pardus (clearly the source of the name of the loving leopard shown above).  The black mutation is recessive, meaning that the cat needs two copies to show the color variation. (The mutation is called “melanistic,” and increases the amount of black melanin pigment in the fur.) But in the right light you can still see the characteristic rosettes of the leopard’s coat, as you can toward the end of this video.

A similar mutation is found in jaguars of the New World, Panthera onca, but those mutations are dominant, requiring only one copy to turn the animal black. Black jaguars are also called “black panthers.” Black domestic housecats also have a single dominant gene that darkens their coats, and in the right light you can often discern a tabby pattern in the coat of an all-black cat, revealing its underlying genetics. (“Tabby-pattern” genes are also dominant, but  are largely masked when a tabby also carries the “black” gene.)

3. I would love to be that keeper. Apparently one can touch some of the cats at this place.

h/t: John

37 thoughts on “The infatuated leopard experience

    1. Not just off the fence — the cat used the guy’s back as a ramp to gain height up the fence! Not sure how the physics of that works without blood being shed….


      1. I think he went around the guy on the ground & used the fence at the bottom to get height.

  1. Very cool.

    “in the right light you can often discern a tabby pattern in the coat of an all-black cat, revealing its underlying genetics”

    Yes, I have noticed this consistently with the black cats I’ve known. And, as you’ve mentioned in previous posts, they aren’t really black, just very dark brown.

  2. I’ve got a little domestic short hair that I’m told is “smokey”. She looks black but has tabby stripes that you can see in the right light. Her fur isn’t pure black but is only black at the tips with a grey “undercoat” (really just the same hairs with different colors at the base), except the undercoat is striped. Does anyone know if this is anything like how black leopards get their spots?

    If my description is awful, here’s a photo I found of another cat that’s similar:

  3. the video shows that if a leopard really wants you, you are so toast….

    Two of my cats are marked with tabby if you see them in the right light, a pewter gray one and a black one. Their brother, now passed away, was a classic brown tabby.

    1. “the video shows that if a leopard really wants you, you are so toast….”

      My thoughts exactly. I might have thought climbing on top of a building would have made me a little bit safer.

      1. Oh, it’d give you lots — as in, maybe even as much as a second of extra lifespan, and the opportunity to admire yet another impressive feat of athleticism.


      2. my cats used to get the “rips”, tearing around the house at mach 1 and up and over me, before they became senior citizen cats. this reminds me of that but with a big big kitty!

        1. It’s not just your cats. They all do that, and one gets the impression that during those bouts they even run on the walls and across the ceiling!

          1. Heh — yes, exactly. And Baihu does the same, either lazily or instantly as he so chooses, with the security door whenever he wants a better perspective on whatever’s going on outside or to get to the top of the regular door to use for a perch.


  4. One of my cats got way up in a tree and couldn’t get down. I held out my hands and called him. He jumped and I caught him. No scratch marks involved. I doubt that the leopard scratched anyone.

  5. Impressive. What courage to be in that cage. That panther gives new meaning to ‘potential energy’.

  6. Amazing and beautiful! In Kenya, I was told by the rangers that leopards who live at high altitudes are black, the high levels of melanin in their coats protecting them from the sun.

    1. LOL. I can’t stop chuckling because your comment reminds me of a scene from the Simpsons in which Homer is explaining 70’s rock music to Bart and Lisa. At one point in the scene Homer says “. . . and then came the Alan Parsons Project which, I believe, was some type of hovercraft.” Hilarious.

  7. I presume Juhi keeps a good supply of Neosporin around for felid scratches. I think it is very safe to say Pardus has very sharp claws.

    I must say: two magnificent mammals, both Pardus and Juhi!

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