The little rat - thought to be only two to three months old - was spotted scampering into the leopard's enclosure shortly after feeding time at the Santago Rare Leopard Project, in Hertfordshire.
So intent was the plucky rodent on its mission to snatch a tasty snack, that it seemed not to notice that its path was taking it within a whisker's breadth of 12-year-old Sheena.
Clutching a corner of raw meat with its tiny paws, the rat busily tucked in, until it sensed one of those whiskers moving in.
Sheena, bemused by the interloper coming between her and the remains of dinner, padded over on paws big enough to wreak vengeance with a single swipe.
But rather than giving the thief at very least the hearty set down it deserved, she gingerly lowered her nose for an exploratory sniff.
Talk about snatching victory from the jaws of danger! Student photographer Casey Gutteridge snapped this priceless photo of a daring rat literally stealing food from right under the nose of a leopard:
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