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Watch big cats get spooked by their own reflections

What do lions and tigers and jaguars see when they look in the mirror? Judging by the reactions of some of these cats at Tampa's Big Cat Rescue animal sanctuary, it's something pretty scary. What exactly makes a lion jump like that? Maybe he's having a bad mane day.


I'm not sure what prompted the cat handlers to tease their kitties with mirrors for our amusement, but it's pretty interesting to watch the different reactions. The smaller cats seem to dig seeing themselves much more than the larger guys, and several cats are very curious about what the mirror is. But not that lion. Nothing is going to make him take that long hard look in the mirror.

[via The Daily What]

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There is the additional factor that seems to get ignored: Animals that rely on keen sensory data have a defined impression of what is in their environment and how it is shaped. A mirror is not a reflection to them, its a sorcerous box in which there is a new environment hovering in mid air, and a creature within it they have never seen before.

I imagine if a hole in reality opened up and someone you had never seen before was staring at you in creeper fashion, it might wig you out as well.