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Tiny vs mighty: hungry African leopard nudges intruder with her nose but mouse keeps chewing on leopard's lunch

By WcP.Humor - Posted on 22 November 2009

a perturbed Sheena the leopard looks on as a cheeky mouse nibbles her food at the Santago Rare Leopard Project in Hertfordshire

mischievous rodent grabbed at scraps of meat thrown into the African Leopard's enclosure


This mouse danced with death when it tucked itself into the lunch of a hungry leopard. Like a little child and seemingly unaware of the beast towering over it, the mischievous rodent grabbed at scraps of meat thrown into the African Leopard's enclosure. But instead of pouncing on the tiny intruder, the 12-year-old leopard, called Sheena, appeared to be afraid of the daring mouse and kept her distance. The perturbed leopard looks on as the cheeky mouse nibbles her food. At one stage she tried to nudge the mouse away with her nose, but the determined little guy carried on chewing away until he was full. The extraordinary scene was captured by photography student Casey Gutteridge at the Santago Rare Leopard Project in Hertfordshire.

the surprised leopard bent down and sniffed the mouse and flinched a bit like she was scared

mouse just carried on eating the leopard’s lunch like nothing had happened

The 19-year-old, from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, who was photographing the leopard for a course project, was astounded by the mouse's behavior. He said: 'I have no idea where the mouse 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 the mouse and flinched a bit like she was scared. In the meantime the mouse just carried on eating like nothing had happened, even a gentle shove does not deter the little creature from getting his fill...

Sheena the African leopard batted the mouse a couple of times to try to get it away from her food

determined little mouse took no notice of the leopard and just carried on eating

'It was amazing; even the keeper who had thrown the meat into the enclosure was shocked and said he'd never seen anything like it before.' Project owner Jackie James added: 'It was so funny to see - Sheena batted the mouse a couple of times to try to get it away from her food. But the determined little thing took no notice and just carried on.'

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 by Jackie's late husband Peter in 1989.


Photos courtesy of Casey Gutteridge /

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This can be really amusing, the mouse is attempting to eat leopards leopard and food is looking to save her food. It is like Jerry story and a tom.
ow!! That's a really cute minute. It's a fantastic picture. Affection and the love between creatures is amazing. If person had this kindness within their heart, I wish.

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Those pictures are really fascinating to watch. I can see the defenseless in leopard eyes with the brave attack of tiny mouse on the food of leopard. Leopard is kind enough to allow his tiny guest to share her meal. The photography was superb with great timing. The articles were written in a funny way.

Must appreciate the timing of the photographer who captured the most amazing moments between the leopard and the mouse. This is so funny, the mouse is trying to eat leopards food and leopard is trying to save her food. It's like a tom and Jerry tale.

Its interesting to read but afraid to watch.

This photography of Casey Gutteridge is of excellent quality. The pictures has good resolutions in it which able to show every thing clearly about leopard and mouse. The author wrote the article in very funny way and plays between leopard and mouse which is eating the meal of leopard in front of him without caring about the leopard.

Wow!! That is really a cute moment. It is an amazing photograph. The love and affection between animals is unbelievable. I wish if human had this kindness in their heart. Thanks a lot for sharing this interesting, inspiring and touching article.

Thanks for sharing

it says the leopard has been raised in captivity, so i don't think the leopard has ever had to kill, for food.
thus, the leopard may have lost even the tendency to kill

Not so sure that's what's going on here. My house cats have never had to hunt for food, but they both kill mice whenever they can.

My house cats have been raised in captivity, and have NEVER had to hunt. However when they see a rodent they remember how to hunt....Sometimes animals just make unusual friends

Leopards don't hunt mice, they hunt pretty large animals, so I doubt it would have even crossed its mind to waste energy attacking such a pointless morsel. House cats wouldn't hunt an antelope either lol.

Also Leopards aren't generally born in places with mice running round, so I'm unsure whether mice would be recognised as prey in the first place.

I doubt very much that they've 'made friends' as people keep saying, though, a nudge is not a nuzzle!

Maybe the mouse was sick. There is a disease that rats sometimes get that cause them to run TOWARDS a predator that they are normally afraid of (e.g., cat, etc.) It is postulated that the virus(?) is causing the brain-sickened rat to become prey in order for the virus to propagate (move into another host, in this case, a cat...) At any rate, this is unusual behavior but not anything 'mystical.' I wouldn't read too much into this other than strangeness but there is an explanation...


What you're talking about is toxoplasma, which makes rats attracted to the scent of cat pee. I believe it is a parasite, and if you've ever owned a cat and done little box duty, chances are you have it too.

The parasite doesn't affect humans though.

Toxoplasmosis infects a portion of the population, and though you may live life normally unaware of your infection it is not necessarily safe either. Research is being done to understand how toxoplasmosis affects the human body, specifically the nervous system (ex. schizophrenia). Most notably, pregnant women (or rather their fetus) are at the most risk. Sometimes even ending in still births. In all respects, we are finding that parasites, viruses, and bacterial infections can have detrimental effects on a developing child's nervous system and well being.

Dude. It's sweet. Just go with it. Don't need to explain everything.

:D totally man, it's amazing no matter what the reason

wow... The photograph is very nice. First I didn't notice the rat in the picture then closely watched them all.">powder coating company

This is a touching moment)) Was he seeing it for the first time? And just was curious what it was? Or he just wanted the mouse to stuff herself with meat?)) (just joking))
I like the pictures! 9 out of 10!

I can understand most people don't have any emotional attachment to their best friends, but some friends actually value their best friend. They know the important of such person in their life. These pictures are just awesome, 10 out of 10!

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Its very cool... That is the real essence of friendship. Even though they are different in ways but they make still friends.. Mouse is Stronger than Sheena. lol..

The only problem with stories like this is that people humanize them too much. In a lot of these cases of predator "befriending" prey the predator will eventually turn on the other animal. The most likely situation for this photo is that the cat prefers the meat chunks to the mouse and if it was hungry and the meat chunks weren't there it would definitely kill the mouse.

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