The extraordinary scene was captured by photography
student Casey Gutteridge at the Santago Rare Leopard
Project in Hertfordshire.
The 19-year-old, from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, who was
photographing the leopard for a course project, was
astounded by the mouse's behaviour.
He said: 'I have no idea where the mouse came from - he just
appeared in the enclosure after the keeper had dropped in the
meat for the leopard.
'He didn't take any notice of the leopard, just went straight
over to the meat and started feeding himself.
'But the leopard was pretty surprised - she bent down and
sniffed the mouse and flinched a bit like she was scared.
'In the meantime the mouse just carried on eating like nothing
but even a gentle shove does not deter the little creature
from getting his fill.
'It was amazing, even the keeper who had thrown the meat
into the enclosure was shocked - he said he'd never seen
anything like it before.'
Project owner Jackie James added: 'It was so funny to see -
Sheena batted the mouse a couple of times to try to get it away
from her food.
'But the determined little thing took no notice and just carried on.'
Sheena was brought in to the Santago Rare Leopard Project
from a UK zoo when she was just four months old.
She is one of 14 big cats in the private collection started by
Jackie 's late husband Peter in 1989.
...so the mouse continued to eat the leopard's lunch and
show the leopard who was the boss.