You're looking at the only known example of what conservationists are calling a strawberry colored African leopard. The big, pink-hued cat — which makes its home at South Africa's Madikwe Game Reserve — is affected by erythrism, a poorly understood genetic condition that causes him to either overproduce red pigments or underproduce dark pigments in his coat.

"It's really rare," explained Luke Hunter, president of the wild cat-conservation group Panthera, whom Madikwe officials consulted with about the cat's unusual coloration. "I don't know of another credible example in leopards."


According to National Geographic, erythrism is unusual in carnivores, which makes sense if you think about it — pinkish fur, after all, is probably not the most ideal form of camouflage for animals whose predatory techniques rely on stealth. But this particular leopard appears to be doing fine. "He's obviously a successful animal," said Hunter.

Oh, and for reference, here's the strawberry cat pictured along with a typical African leopard:


Photo by Deon De Villiers via National Geographic