The infatuated leopard experience

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.

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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 Comments

  1. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I love the rebound off the fence!

    • Posted July 24, 2014 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      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….

      b&

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 24, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

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

    • Posted July 24, 2014 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Me too. That’s the best part.

      • Posted July 24, 2014 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        I thought the bellyrub was the best part, but the rebound was pretty awesome, too….

        b&

  2. Posted July 24, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I would love to be that leopard.

  3. Posted July 24, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Shoulder cat takes on an entirely different meaning when the cat masses as much as the human. What a lucky couple!

    b&

    • Alex T
      Posted July 24, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      No kidding. Look at those hind paws step all over her when the cat decides to leave! Wow.

  4. Draken
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Slightly sharper version with sound on youtube.

  5. Posted July 24, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    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.

  6. Alex T
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    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: http://sailincat.com/animals/cats/adopted/Smokey_Tigress/Smokey_Tigress_flier.htm

  7. Posted July 24, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • Posted July 24, 2014 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      “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.

      • Posted July 24, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        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.

        b&

      • Posted July 28, 2014 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        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!

        • Posted July 28, 2014 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

          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!

          • Posted July 30, 2014 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

            Yep. I’m convinced cats can defy gravity :)

            • Posted July 30, 2014 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

              Cats don’t defy gravity. They laugh at it.

              b&

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted August 1, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

                Such as this domestic moggie?

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kONS5HFHJo

              • Posted August 1, 2014 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

                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.

                b&

  8. Posted July 24, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Pardus briefly chilling out gave the zookeeper an opportunity to let down her hair. I think they have a high degree of familiarity. :-)

  9. Jim Thomerson
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • Posted July 24, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Baihu spends a lot of time on my shoulders, and they’re constantly scratched up and my shirts all rapidly accumulate pinholes.

      b&

  10. mikespeir
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I’ll just watch, thank you very much.

  11. Posted July 24, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    There are many beautiful animals in the world but the large cats strike me as the most magnificent of creatures.

  12. Posted July 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t the GFAS program director warn us about this?

  13. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Seeing that coming towards you would keep the laundrette busy.

  14. Cliff Melick
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Perfect 2nd career for you, Jerry.

  15. Kevin
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

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

  16. Posted July 24, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Best job ever…

  17. MAZMANIANAC
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Big cats like tummy rubs too

  18. DV
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Is this cat declawed? The handler could end up getting shredded otherwise, I would think.

  19. Posted July 24, 2014 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    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.

  20. Alex
    Posted July 25, 2014 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    The infatuated leopard experience, eh? The 70s prog rock band names just write themselves around here…

    • Posted July 25, 2014 at 6:01 am | Permalink

      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.

  21. Dominic
    Posted July 25, 2014 at 2:49 am | Permalink

    If you are interested in black leopards take a look at this article from National Geographic last week from India where 10% of photos in camera traps are melanistic animals-

    Legendary Black Leopards Appear on Camera Traps

    http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2014/07/16/black-leopards-appear-on-india-camera-traps/

  22. dorcheat
    Posted July 25, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    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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