I did not see this coming at all.
At first, it looks like the man is doomed.
Resting easily against a wall in an animal sanctuary enclosure, the Mexican man chats happily in Spanish as a black panther – hundreds of pounds of sleek muscle, claw and tooth – creeps silently up on him.
Just as the big cat coils to pounce, the man spins around and starts laughing and playing with the animal, who he refers to as one of his ‘babies’.
The video, which was posted to Instagram Saturday by user @Bofokaram and highlighted by the New York Daily News, continues with the man and panther tussling with one another, the big cat grabbing him playfully with its powerful paws and jaw.
The man – Eduardo Serio – taunts the cat into chasing him then jumps up onto the grassy verge behind, the creature gracefully leaping up behind him.
He jumps down again and gives the animal a kiss on its nose, ducking back as it swipes at him and bares its teeth.
Incredibly he goes in for a kiss again, and again, and it becomes clear that he was never in any serious danger as the panther begins to lick his face.
Then he gives the panther a friendly push away and it settles on the grass behind him, content – for now – just to watch him.