The Mysterious White Cheetah

Cheetahs are known for their distinctive spotted coat, sleek build, and incredible speed. But did you know that there is a rare and elusive variant of the cheetah that is white in color? The white cheetah, also known as the king cheetah, is a fascinating and enigmatic animal that has captured the imagination of scientists and the public alike. In this article, we will take a closer look at the mysterious white cheetah, exploring its physical characteristics, behavior, habitat, threats, and conservation efforts.

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

The white cheetah was first discovered in the early 20th century in what is now Zimbabwe, when a hunter shot and killed a cheetah with an unusual coat pattern. The skin was later acquired by a naturalist named Reginald Innes Pocock, who recognized the specimen as a new subspecies of cheetah. Pocock named the animal Acinonyx rex, or the king cheetah, due to its majestic appearance.

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 Mysterious White CheetahResearch revealed that the king cheetah was not a separate subspecies, but rather a genetic variant of the common cheetah. The king cheetah is believed to be the result of a rare genetic mutation that causes a change in the cheetah’s coat pattern. Instead of the typical spots, the king cheetah has large blotches of black fur on its back, with smaller spots on its legs and tail. In addition, some king cheetahs have a white or cream-colored coat, which gives them a striking appearance.

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.

Scientists are still not sure what causes the white coloration in cheetahs, although it is believed to be the result of a genetic mutation that affects the production of pigment in the fur. It is also possible that the white coloration is linked to the king cheetah mutation, since both traits are rare and occur in the same geographic region.

How the Recent White Cheetah was Photographed

Photographing a white cheetah can be challenging, but the level of difficulty will depend on several factors. White cheetahs are extremely rare, with an estimated 10 individuals living in the wild as of 2021. They are a genetic variation of the regular spotted cheetah and have a creamy white coat with faint spots.

Some of the factors that can make photographing a white cheetah challenging include:

Rarity: White cheetahs are extremely rare, which makes it difficult to find them in the wild.

Camouflage: The white cheetah’s pale coat provides excellent camouflage in their natural habitat, making it difficult to spot them even if you’re in the right location.

Speed: Cheetahs are incredibly fast, capable of reaching speeds of up to 70 mph (112 km/h). This means that even if you do spot a white cheetah, it may be challenging to get a clear and focused shot before it disappears into the distance.

Lighting: The lighting conditions can also make photographing a white cheetah challenging. In bright sunlight, the white coat can appear overexposed, and in low light conditions, the white fur may not stand out enough against the background.

Overall, photographing a white cheetah can be challenging, but with patience, persistence, and a bit of luck, it is possible to capture stunning images of this rare and majestic animal. It’s important to remember to respect the animal’s space and habitat and avoid any actions that could endanger their safety.

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

Like other cheetahs, the white cheetah is a solitary animal, except for females who are caring for cubs. Female cheetahs typically give birth to litters of 2-4 cubs, which they raise on their own. Cheetah cubs are born with a thick coat of fur, which helps them blend in with their surroundings and avoid detection by predators. They are also born with a mantle of long hair on their backs, which may provide additional camouflage.

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.

Can white cheetahs interbreed with regular cheetahs, and what impact does this have on their genetics?

Yes, white cheetahs can interbreed with regular cheetahs. The white coat coloration in cheetahs is caused by a recessive gene, which means that both parents must carry the gene to produce white offspring. This gene is present in the general population of cheetahs, including those with the typical spotted coat.

When white cheetahs mate with regular cheetahs, the offspring will have a chance of inheriting the recessive gene for white coat coloration. However, since white cheetahs are rare, interbreeding with regular cheetahs can dilute the white gene in the population.

Inbreeding is a major issue for cheetah populations in general, as it can lead to reduced genetic diversity and health problems. With the already small population size of white cheetahs, interbreeding with regular cheetahs could further reduce the genetic diversity of the white cheetah population.

To preserve the unique genetic makeup of white cheetahs, conservation efforts may focus on maintaining separate breeding populations and limiting interbreeding with regular cheetahs.

How do white cheetahs communicate with each other, and what behaviors should you look out for when observing them?

White cheetahs communicate with each other using a range of vocalizations, body language, and scent marking. Here are some of the ways in which white cheetahs communicate:

Vocalizations: White cheetahs use a variety of sounds to communicate, including chirps, barks, growls, and hisses. They may use different sounds to indicate different things, such as a warning of danger, a call for mating, or an invitation to play.

Body language: White cheetahs use their bodies to communicate a range of emotions and intentions. For example, they may arch their backs and puff up their fur to appear larger and more intimidating, or they may crouch low to the ground to show submission or readiness to pounce.

Scent marking: White cheetahs use scent marking to communicate with other cheetahs and mark their territory. They may rub their cheeks on trees and other objects or urinate and defecate in specific areas to leave their scent.

It’s important to remember to observe white cheetahs from a safe distance and without disturbing their natural behavior or habitat.