It was one hot and very still afternoon in October when myself and my guests were enjoying the beauty of the Shinde concession. I was driving along an open grassland area scanning the tree’s and shady spots in hope to find my guests a leopard. I caught sight of a spotted slender body with a deep chest sitting under an anthill in the distance – I knew immediately that this was a cheetah. I looked at my guests with a wicked smirk and told them today is our lucky day, the cheetah were very well camouflaged in the shade so at first my guests did not know what my excitement was about until we approached the anthill and saw the female cheetah and her sub-adult cub.
These cheetah were seen first on the Footsteps side of the concession a few months ago. Opie, my colleague and specialist guide at Footsteps, reported that the female used to have two cubs but one was unfortunately killed by a pack of wild dogs. The second was very vulnerable at a stage and we didn’t know if she was going to survive. This cub is now approaching adulthood and has passed her vulnerable stage – she is looking strong and has started hunting with her mother! This made the sighting extra special for us.
A few interesting facts you may not know about cheetahs; cheetah are the fastest land mammals on earth and can reach speeds of up 112 km per an hour when in full chase. They can weigh up to 72 kg and can reach 70 to 90 cm at shoulder length and they are mainly active during the day. The cheetahs will stalk its prey within 100 to 300 metres, charge towards it and kill it by tripping during the chase and catching it in the throat and suffocating it. Cheetahs are induced ovulatory animal, they breed throughout the year and their gestation period is nearly three months long. They will litter up to three to five cubs.
Blog story and Images by Bee (Professional guide at Shinde)