Cheetah Chase

The Mom

(Alex) One way to find predators while on safari is to look for parked cars, another is to find them yourself. We usually do the second option, but in this case, we did the first. We went out with one goal, to find cheetahs. There are two main sets of cheetahs in the Maasai Mara, one is a group of brothers, another is a group of a mother and her two sub-adult male sons. We got radio information that near our camp was the mother and her sons. When we arrived, we saw the mother on a termite mound, looking around and being alert and her two sons resting and playing with each other below her. The mother looked like she was posing for pictures. After about thirty minutes of pictures, we decided that we were going to go find the three brothers, when the mother quickly stood up with her sons closely at her heals. We suspected that they were going hunting because the three of them were really skinny. The problem was that there was no prey in sight.

The lazy boys

The cheetahs started walking, with us far enough behind that they didn’t mind us. The mother turned left into the endless grasslands, with her cubs scampering behind. Forty-five minutes later, they came to the top of a hill, with zebra, topi, hartebeest and Thompson’s gazelles at the bottom. The wind was in their favor; the prey could not smell them coming. The mother crept down the hill, with her sons playing quite far behind. Suddenly, she started running at a full sprint. She looked like a bullet, running like the wind. She dove onto a young zebra but fell off, without even slowing down her prey. She got up but all the possible animals were now aware, and a predator’s best weapon is the element of surprise. Unfortunately it was hard to see because it was after sunset and was very cloudy, but we didn’t need light to see that she had lost her prey. Also, if the three had worked as a team, they would have had dinner, but instead the mom did all the work and they would be hungry.

Whilst on safari, it is necessary to be patient. If we had left before they got up, we would not have seen her attempt at dinner. We also would have missed so many great things if we hadn’t slowed down to check them out. Look beyond the Big Five; if we only went out on safari to find lions, leopards, cape buffalo, elephants and rhinos, we would have missed so many of the great sites we witnessed.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook

2 Responses to “Cheetah Chase”

  1. Nancy Dussault Smith 20. Sep, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Great post Alex- I’ve enjoyed reading about all of your great adventures- miss you guys!

  2. I guess the moral of the story is to help your mother with the chores if you want dinner. Great story. We miss you guys. Have fun!