Sri Lankan leopard with unique mutated coat squares up to a sloth bear
The very unusual coat of this leopard has not been mentioned in the caption to the video in which it squares up to a sloth bear in a tense confrontation. The footage was captured in Kumana National Park on Sri Lanka’s east coast. Below I present a standard Sri Lankan female leopard and below that I present the leopard that we see in this video on YouTube. And there is something distinctly “mutated” in the leopard in this face-off. Not only is this leopard coat unique to my knowledge but this cat looks slenderer than the normal leopard which is quite stocky. Perhaps that is due to a mutation as well but that is unlikely. It may be juvenile.
I don’t know what kind of mutation it is but this is certainly not a typical leopard. I would guess and say that this highly irregular coat has occurred because of a mutated recessive gene which has suddenly revealed itself because of inbreeding within perhaps a small, fragmented population of leopards on the island of Sri Lanka.
There have been quite a range of rare leopard mutations over the years. The classic one is the melanistic leopard (black panther) and another is the “king leopard” in which markings across the entire body are very distinct and much stronger than they are on the regular, common leopard.
In this picture we see a leopard with what I would describe as a two-tone coat. The top half or third is relatively unmarked and a mid-brown colour whereas the flanks and the legs are heavily marked with either dense black spots or stripes set against a brilliantly white background. Nothing that I’ve seen of rare, leopards with coats that have been modified by the mutation of a recessive gene are the same as the one I am seeing in this video. I am very surprised that nobody has mentioned because immediately I saw it, the coat looked highly unusual to me.
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Below are some more articles on the leopard.