A king cheetah is a cheetah with a rare genetic mutation characterized by a distinct fur pattern. A king cheetah's spots are large, blotchy, and merged together sometimes resulting in stripe-like patterns. The distinctive fur pattern was first documented in what was then Southern Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe) in 1926. It was first thought to be its own species (or at least a subspecies), however this was finally proven false in 1981 when two king cheetah cubs were born at the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre in South Africa. Two sisters with normal coat patterns each gave birth to a king cheetah cub. The sisters are said to have mated with a wild-caught male from the Transvaal area (where wild king cheetahs had been recorded). In 2012, the cause of this alternative coat pattern was found to be a mutation in the gene for transmembrane aminopeptidase Q (Taqpep). The mutation is recessive and must be inherited from both parents for the fur pattern to appear, which is one reason why it is so rare.

Zoo Tycoon 2

The king cheetah is a variant skin for the cheetah, a feature introduced in the Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species expansion pack released for Zoo Tycoon 2. True to its real life counter part, a king cheetah is a rare occurrence in the game. The chances of one being born or being adopted are possible but slim.