Wilderness Apprenticeship Unveiled: Mother Cheetahs Instruct Their Cubs in the Art of һᴜпtіпɡ through ⱱіtаɩ Survival Lessons

One of the most important things a mother cheetah has to teach her cubs is how to hunt. In the first phase of life, young cheetahs playfully learn many important behaviors that are later essential for a successful hunt. While the mother fetches food, the cubs have to wait in their hiding place. Many small cheetahs do not survive their first three months of life and are often the victims of hyena or lion attacks.



The three young cheetahs still seem a bit clumsy


When the boys are older – about one and a half to two years old – they are allowed to accompany their mother on the hunt. For the three young cheetahs in this series of images, the game becomes deadly serious: their mother has torn a small Thomson’s gazelle to the ground after a frenzied hunt, but after a short time she lets go of her prey and does not kill the victim. The gazelle stands up again and doesn’t move from the spot – apparently she’s paralyzed with fright. Shortly thereafter, the mother withdraws inconspicuously. There is an intention behind this: If their young want to satisfy their hunger now, they have to kill the prey themselves.



The young cheetahs bring down the gazelle

As the young cheetahs approach, the gazelle tries to escape. But the boys are faster and bring down the Thomson’s gazelle again. This is followed by a phase in which, as an astonished observer, you might think that the cheetahs have found a new playmate. The three cheetahs and the gazelle seem to be sitting together like temporary friends.



Are we friends or foes?

Suddenly a cheetah bites while the other two look almost sad – as if they know that killing is inevitable in order to survive. The young cheetah’s attempts to bite are still insufficiently targeted: adult cheetahs usually kill their prey by suffocating their prey with a bite in the neck. The cheetah’s biting power is not as great as that of other big cats.



Now one of the three cheetahs bites. What do you think is going on with the other two?

After a few minutes, the three cheetahs wrestle the gazelle to the ground and kill their supposed playmate. A short time later, the mother joins in again and the prey is hastily devoured.



Now the bite is right

Hastily because cheetahs often have to cede their prey to hyenas. Cheetahs would have no chance against the stronger arch-rivals.



Together with the mother is now eaten hastily

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