Few creatures on planet Earth would dare get between a Leopard and her noms. But at the Santago Rare Leopard Project in Hertfordshire, England, there’s a teenaged rat who did just that. He stole his lunch from a leopard cat. Imagine that!
Hard to believe, but student photographer Casey Gutteridge captured images of the exchange as part of a school photography project.
The young rat was spotted trotting into the leopard’s enclosure at lunchtime. So intent was he on getting his noms, he didn’t spot the leopard, Sheena, looming above him.
The rat quicky set to work on a chunk of raw meat while the leopard approached to investigate the intruder. Onlookers assumed the rat would be toast, but instead, Sheena sniffed the little ratling, then figured it was better to fatten him up now and eat him later and left him alone. The rat was unfazed, his focus intent on lunch.
Photographer Gutteridge said: “I have no idea where it (the baby rat) came from – he just appeared in the enclosure after the keeper had dropped in the meat for the leopard.
“He didn’t take any notice of the leopard, just went straight over to the meat and started feeding himself.
“But the leopard was pretty surprised – she bent down and sniffed at it and flinched a bit like she was scared.
“It was amazing, even the keeper who had thrown the meat into the enclosure was shocked – he said he’d never seen anything like it before.”
Sheena was brought in to the Santago Rare Leopard Project from a UK zoo when she was just four months old.
She is one of 14 big cats in the private collection started in 1989.
[SOURCE: Daily Mail. Photos by Casey Gutteridge.]