(Graphic pictures and video are below)
We are on a safari with Wild Eye. One of things I like about being on safari is seeing real things that are not staged or there for “my benefit”. Beautiful or gory, they are why I am here to witness….
We’ve run across a few cheetah over the last couple of days, and the first pictures below are of two brothers we saw the first day that always stay and hunt together. Here are a few selected facts about the cheetah:
- Cheetahs are the fastest land animal, reaching speeds of 70 mph in short bursts. The average speed of a cheetah while hunting is about 40 mph,
- The adult cheetah weighs 50-150 lbs, making it much smaller than the lion.
- The cheetah coat is uniformly covered with nearly 2,000 solid black spots.
- Cheetahs are active mainly during the day, which is when they hunt. Adult males are sociable despite their territoriality, forming groups called coalitions. Cheetah mainly prey upon antelopes and gazelles, stalking their prey to within 300-900 feet, then they charge towards it and kill it by tripping it during the chase and biting the throat to suffocate it to death.
We saw the two brothers on the 2nd day we were there …. they had just hunted and killed a zebra. The cheetah is a formidable hunter, especially when they can surprise a group of animals in closed quarters. We came onto the site about 20 minutes after the kill, so we could view the aftermath from about 20 feet away. Unlike previous cheetah kills we had seen, the brothers started eating very soon after the kill, meaning that they had not expended that much energy in the kill.
Interesting to not is that they first go after the vocal chords, so that they kill is done with as little sound as possible, in order not to alert other animals (hyena, etc) that would take the kill away. Also, you will notice that they are fairly “neat eaters”, chewing only inside the hind-quarters as first, in order to keep the smell down (again, to prevent other predictors from being alert to the kill).
In the video, about 10 seconds in, the brothers change places, which
To see cheetah devouring a kill from so close is quite unique and very special. Below are pictures and video.