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Cheetah Hunting Behaviors
Cheetahs are very graceful hunters.
Cheetahs often lose their prey to lions and tiger and hyenas. Hunting cheetahs use many strategies to get close prey. They vary these hunting plan depending on the type of area they are hunting in and what type of animal they are hunting. Cheetahs are very smart hunters.
Cheetahs can run about 70 mph (112 kph), but the can only do that for about 300 yards at a time. The average speed during a cheetah hunt is about 40 miles per hour. When hunting a cheetah will try to get within 50 yards of its target. They often chose an animal that is off by itself.
Whenever there is hiding places available like tall grass the cheetah will crouch and sneak up as close as it can on its prey.
If cover is not available the cheetah will creep in as close at 60-70 yards very slowly. When a target is picked out and the cheetah has gotten as close as possible then it will burst into full speed. It can accelerate to top speed almost instantly so it is able to overtake its prey. The cheetah is hard to see because its spotted coat blends with the tall, dry grass of the plains. Sometimes it peaks up to keep its eye on the prey, but keeps its body crouched low and hidden.
When a cheetah is in full speed and its prey makes many sharp turns and doges the cheetah often 'loses' its meal because it tires so quickly..
Cheetahs hunt in the cool of evening, early morning or by moonlight. Cheetahs also hunt a lot more in the daytime than other big cats do. Prey is mainly gazelles, impala and other small antelope, hares, ostriches and guinea fowl. Mostly they hunt alone or in pairs, but small family groups are often seen, usually three or four related males OR a female with cubs.
The cheetah was once trained by humans for hunting purposes as long ago as 3,000 B.C. Cheetahs are predatory animals that hunt by sight, sometimes using termite mounds as lookout posts. The cheetah does most of its hunting during the day, when other predators like lions, hyenas and leopards are sleeping, since these animals often take the food away from the less strong cheetah. The cheetah has excellent eye sight for day time hunting.
(The following paragraph has been copied exactly from an encyclopedia type website)
Cheetahs bring down quarry either by tripping it or knocking it off balance
with a sideward or downward blow to its hindquarters. One running much slower
or standing is pulled down by rearing and hooking its shoulder or flank with a
dewclaw and yanking backward. Once the victim is down, the cat lunges for its
throat, secures a vice like grip on its windpipe, and proceeds to choke it to
death, usually within 4 to 5 minutes. A cheetah then drags its kill into
nearest cover, where it proceeds to eat up to 30 lb. (14 kg), meanwhile
keeping a lookout for hyenas and lions. Skin and bones and digestive tract are
left uneaten; cheetahs do not return to their kills. Fully fed cheetahs can
fast 2 to 5 days before killing again, but mothers keep much busier: one with
cubs captured 31 gazelles and a hare in 35 days.
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