The Mysterious White Cheetah

The white cheetah may not be a new species, in fact it probably isn’t.  Mark Siddall, a zoologist who works at American Museum of Natural History  warned that the white cheetah found in photographs around the internet could just be another melanin variant like the wallaby — perhaps merely an albino of the cheetah world.

History of the Black and White Cheetah

Cheetah fur is short and someone course except for a main of longer hair at the nape and shoulders, maybe eight or more centimeters long. This mane in the adults is the remnant of a much more extensive capelike covering of long gray blue hair possessed by cheetah cubs. But the color is almost always yellow or tan.

White cheetahs have been recorded in past history but they are incredibly rare. There’s a record of a black cheetah from Kenya and another from Zambia.

White cheetahs have been recorded in past history but they are incredibly rare. There’s a record of a black cheetah from Kenya and another from Zambia.

In India, emperor Jahangir described a white cheetah presented to him by Raja Bir Singh Deo in 1608 as having blue spots on a white blue coat. In South Africa, partially albino cheetahs where described by Sclater in 1877. A 3rd anomalous coat pattern is out of a rare king cheetah from South Africa.

In 1926 a cheetah skin pattern with stripes and blotches, instead of the usual spots, was purchased by a farmer and Southern Rhodesia. The farmer donated the skin to the museum in Salisbury it was later examined by Major AC Cooper who thought that it might be the result of a hybrid mating between a leopard and a cheetah. Cooper persuaded the museum authorities to send the skin to the British museum, and in 1927 Pocock publish official description of the king cheetah.

The King Cheetah is not the White Cheetah

The king cheetah is in fact just an ordinary cheetah with abnormal markings. The king code pattern is controlled by a single recessive gene; if both parents have the gene, 25% of their offspring will have the coat pattern. Geneticisst now believe that the king cheetah pattern results from a mutation of the “Tabby” gene. Striped tabby domestic cats produce kittens with a tabby coat pattern when a mutation of this gene occurs. Wild king cheetahs are found exclusively in Zimbabwe, Botswana, and the Transvaal. Between 1981 and 1984 nine king cheetahs were born to parents with normal coats and the De Wildt Cheetah Breeding and Research Center near Pretoria.

How the Recent White Cheetah was Photographed

Natural life craftsman Guy Combs had been looking for the white cheetah for a long while, utilizing a spotter plane and two vehicles and looking through a wide swath of the African fields. One day he was at long last fruitful, and caught a stunning arrangement of pictures of a cheetah with shading that resembled more of a lioness than a typical cheetah.

The white cheetah Combs captured has a tawny coat with a lighter underbelly, in the same way as other cheetahs. But the main difference in this white cheetah and other cheetahs is that the white cheetah didn’t have any spots. There were what appear to be some spots on the legs and hindquarters.  But not typical of a regular cheetah and with a very light color.

What Photoshop Experts Think of the White Cheetah Photographs

Photoshop expert and designer Paul Hogan was impressed with the fact that the photographs seemed genuine. He said:

I get in real close on this one. The fact that they have 3 good images that are all apparently un-photoshopped helps. If it was just one, I’d be more suspect. But I get in close, checked for matching spots and differentiates where I could and it seems legitimate. EXIF data puts the pics around the right range as well, though that can be fudged. Basically if it’s a fake, they did a decent job on more than one image. There is one area that has me slightly doubting the balls on one of the photos, but that is only because if it was a store, a lioness would’ve been a good source animal for this.

Within cryptozoology, there has been some focus on the quest for the “King Cheetah ,” although many have just turned out to be a pattern mutation. White cheetahs have been discovered since at least 1608. It is possible for some studies to be conducted just to discover if this is a part-albino or a new subspecies of the known cheetah. Not many experts are convinced that this white cheetah is a new species — though further study might reveal that to be true. But they are all fairly certain it is a real animal, and like the famous King Cheetah cryptid, this cheetah has rarely-seen differentiates.

How Rare is the White Cheetah?

Most cheetahs have a yellowish tan or rufous to greyish white. And the coat of the cheetah is uniformly covered with nearly 2,000 solid black spots.

If the pictures on the internet are real this exquisite creature is most likely one of the rarest animals on the planet. We hear at Small Animal Planet love animals and hope that the white cheetah finds a similar mate and has many other white cheetah babies.