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.
From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by Oomi.
So adorable.. actually made me tear up a little bit.
...Could this have to do with the effect that young animals sometimes have on older mammals...? I mean, you also see dogs that take care of tiger-kittens and things like that. And it is observed that sometimes if a prey animal does not behave like prey (run away, express fear), it isn't attacked at all.
Anyone know for sure? I know... who cares, but my spidey senses are tingling and I hate sloppy reporters.