This incredible picture appears to show a toddler chasing after a cheetah inside the enclosure at a zoo.

Nadya Chandler's heart almost skipped a beat when she first saw her photo as it appeared like her three-year-old niece had got inside the enclosure with the big cat at Paignton Zoo, Devon.

However the 25-year-old quickly realised that a clever trick of the light had made it appear that Layla was running on the other side of the glass, when it was in fact her reflection.

Layla's mum and dad Dan Quigley, 24, and wife Charlotte, 28, were left scratching their heads trying to figure the picture out and the image quickly went viral online leaving social media users baffled.

Nadya, a waitress from Paignton, said: "I was just enjoying a family day out with Layla and my mother Beverley and I was taking pictures as usual. I have a zoo pass and regularly go and photograph the animals.

"I was taking a picture of the cheetah as it was walking towards us in the enclosure and I spotted Layla in the photo.

"Because the glass in the windows is curved, as she was running towards me while I was taking pictures her reflection got caught in a picture.

"When I saw it I almost had to look at the enclosure to check at first. It looked so real, straight away it looked like she was in there. It looked like she was running after the cheetah.

"When I looked at the camera and couldn't see the glass at all, I thought it was amazing.

"Everyone I have shown it to love it and think it's hilarious.

"Layla loves the cheetah as it came right up to the glass.

"She didn't really understand how she ended up in the picture but I'm sure we can explain it to her when she's older."

Layla's dad Dan, who works in catering in the NHS, said: "It's one of those pictures where everyone automatically thinks it's been Photoshopped, it's such a brilliant picture.

"I did have to double look at it to make sure that it was safe at first but obviously it never happened. Thankfully I realised quite quickly she was not actually in the enclosure.

"Layla loves the zoo and anything to do with animals so it was quite fitting it was her caught in the picture like this.

"It will be a good one to show her when she grows up. We take pictures everywhere and we have a little scrapbook of them all so she will be able to look at this one when she is older and be able to understand it then.

"Maybe we can wind her up and say that was the day she chased a cheetah.

"Charlotte saw the picture before me. She loved it and told me I had to see it straight away. I just said 'oh my god' when I saw it.

"You have to look a few times to make sure it's not something dangerous but it has made us laugh a lot. We love it."