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Cheetah Notes 2

Welcome to page 2 of images and brief notes about cheetahs, cheetah behaviour and cheetah sightings based on visits and photo safaris to game reserves and national parks in southern Africa. All images © Scotch Macaskill - for more, see Terms of Use.

Cheetah with Impala Kill

Cheetah with Impala Kill Caption: Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) takes a break from feeding on its kill, a female impala, to scan for any approaching scavengers, Mashatu Game Reserve, Tuli Block, Botswana.

Camera: Canon EOS 50D; Lens: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM; Focal length: 200mm; Shutter speed: 1/1250; Aperture: f/7.1; ISO: 400

Cheetah grooming and licking front paw

Additional Info: The cheetah, once it had eaten its fill, moved away from the kill to rest in the shade of some nearby shrubs. After stretching and yawning, it began carefully grooming and cleaning itself, very like a domestic cat would do.

In the picture (right), it’s using it’s tongue to lick and clean its foreleg. Note the visible, unsheathed claws.

The cheetah’s claws — used mainly for providing traction during its short, blistering runs and not as weapons of attack — can only be partially retracted.

In contrast to this other cats, which either stalk or pounce on their prey, have claws that are sheathed until required, ensuring the claws remain sharp and ready for use.

We were interested that the first scavenger to arrive and start feeding on the remains of the kill was a tawny eagle, beating the resident jackals and hyenas to this free meal.

Cheetah Sniffing for Scent Markings

Cheetah Sniffing for Scent Markings Caption: Cheetah on tree stump sniffs carefully for scent markings left by other cheetah, Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Canon Rebel XSi 12.2MP); Lens: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM; Focal length: 105mm; Shutter speed: 1/125; Aperture: f/8; ISO: 400;

Additional Info: Cheetah mark their territories by spraying urine, usually on elevated observation points such as large rocks and tree stumps.

These marking sites are regularly visited by both resident and itinerant cheetah. In this way they gather information about the local cheetah social structure.

Cheetah Characteristics

Cheetah full-figure side on This Cheetah photograph, taken as the sleek cat pauses briefly and turns its head while standing side-on, illustrates many of the cheetah’s characteristic or distinguishing features.

  • A member of the cat family, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is uncompromisingly built for speed
  • It is lightly built (compared to leopard or lion), with long, slender legs. The back thighs are powerful and muscular
  • The feet are small, with claws unsheathed for better grip while running
  • The head is small with large nostrils for sucking in oxygen, while the chest is relatively broad in relation to rest of the body
  • The tail is long for helping with balance while running at speed; the bottom section of the tail is ringed in black and white, ending in a white tip.

For more about cheetah, see Cheetah Information

Cheetah Using Tree Stump for Elevation

Cheetah Using Tree Stump for Elevation

Caption: Young cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) using tree stump for elevation as it scans its surroundings, Mashatu Game Reserve, Tuli Block, Botswana.

Camera: Canon EOS 400D; Lens: Canon 100-400 IS Zoom; Focal Length: 170mm; Shutter speed: 1/500; Aperture: f7.1; ISO: 400.

Additional Info: Predators, including cheetahs, often use elevation as vantage points, not only to scan for prey, but also for protection. Cheetahs are known to sleep on termite mounds at night to reduce the risk of being surprised and attacked by lions.

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Cheetah Notes 1

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