2 Hungry Boys
Tracking Cheetahs in Tswalu, Kalahari
Cheetah’s, the fastest land animals, are built for speed. In order to achieve their top speed of 112kph, their body was optimized over the centuries. Although their speed is very high, they can only achieve it for a short period of time, roughly 60 seconds, so they are quite explosive. Large nasal passages, enlarged hearts and lungs, all help quickly enrich their blood with a lot of oxygen to recover from their short bursts of intense speed. Their tails act as rudders to speed up their turns. Their claws increase their grip.
Although not as hollow as birds, their bones are structured very light. This and other things put them on the bottom of the food chain in terms of predators. They can not fight well, so usually keep away from lions, tigers or the like. Like all other cats they are big sleepers. Maybe I was a cat in a previous life.
We spent most of the our first day on safari tracking 2 male cheetah’s that were on the prowl. Males often hang out in pairs, helping each other catch their prey.
Next to hunting together, they also groom themselves together to form a stronger bond. Of course, when it comes to girls, they will fight, but they will continue to stay together afterwards. Bros before hoes!
When hungry, they will spend most of the day on high ground, looking out for possible targets and roaming around the open field to spot smaller antelopes or similar animals that they can attack and kill.
It is impressive to be able to watch these animals so closely while they calmly roam around the wilderness.
These two specific cheetah’s also have a habit that is not usual in this kind of big cats: they love climbing on trees. And while doing that they look extremely funny.
This time we were not able to watch them hunt. No good targets close by. But there always is going to be a next time, I hope!