This is a shot of a leopard in South Africa that's suspected of having erythrism, a genetic mutation believed to cause an excess of red pigments, or a deficit of dark ones. "So it's a ginger?" Yeah, it prefers the term strawberry.
Erythrism is very unusual in carnivores, and the condition appears most often in raccoons, Eurasian badgers, and coyotes, Hunter noted.
"There are some spotted leopard skins and melanistic specimens--black panthers--in museums with red undertones, but fading probably contributes to that," he said.
The strawberry leopard seems healthy and likely suffers no ill consequences from his pinkish hue, Hunter said: "He's obviously a successful animal."
Hit the jump for a shot of a regular leopard in case you don't think this strawberry one looks that different (normal 'vanilla' leopards have almost black spots). Then, cross your fingers they find a banana colored one next. "You're thinking about smoothies, aren't you?" I'm never not!
Hit the jump for a plain one.
"Strawberry" Leopard Discovered--A First [nationalgeographic]
Thanks to Melissa, who's hoping for a Neapolitan version next.