In the Serengeti, cheetah cubs are born into a life of uncertainty. Competition for food can be costly, and ninety-five percent of cheetah cubs will die before they reach independence. Many of these dotted creatures will suffer an untimely death at the paws of a hunting lion simply because the iconic big cat has an instinct to eliminate the competition. Packs of hyena might also target a lone cheetah simply because area prey isn’t as appetizing.
But despite these threats, cheetahs are stealth, territorial predators with keen hunting strategies. Their jaws can hold down massive prey (like Thomson gazelles) for up to twenty minutes, and their eyes can spot moving quarry five kilometers away. And although cheetahs lack endurance, they can sprint to sixty miles per hour in just three seconds!
It’s believed that about 12,000 cheetahs remain in the wild.
Learn more about these fascinating felines and tune into Africa’s Great Rift: Kingdom of the Cheetah, Monday November 29th at 8 PM et/pt!
Video Preview: When antelopes give birth, cheetah meals are plentiful.