Photo: Sergio Pitamitz
While leading a wild life photography tour in Kenya, Sergio Pitamitz spotted something rare: a jet-black serval - an African wild cat that normally has cheetah-like spots. The black serval ambled into view of the group, then disappeared back into the bush.
"When you do wildlife photography, you're always searching for something rare and strange," Pitamitz said to National Geographic, "It was absolutely incredible."
Black serval has been spotted before - but it's quite rare. There are just six records of black servals in scientific literature, according to biologist Eduardo Eizirik of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil:
The animal is melanistic—its genes carry a mutation that creates more dark pigment than light pigment ... Though melanism is common enough among wildcats—it's reported in 13 of the 38 known species—the trait seems to be relatively rare in servals
Christine Dell'Amore of National Geographic has the full story (check out the large image of the black serval there. What a lovely creature!) - Thanks Kelsey!