Cheetah loses impala due to tourism. Image in the public domain.
The hunting success rate of the cheetah varies depending upon the following factors:
- The sex of the cheetah;
- The age of the cheetah;
- The type of prey being hunted.
RELATED: Average weight of a cheetah
The video below shows a cheetah chasing a Thompson’s gazelle (15% success rate when hunting alone – see below). This gazelle probably got away.
In general, cheetahs appear to be more successful hunters then other large wild cat species.
- George Schaller, a German-born American author, conservationist and biologist, in his book The Serengeti Lion (1972), found that adult cheetahs when hunting small gazelle fawns had a 100% success rate. When hunting older gazelles, they were 53.5% successful.
- McLaughlin reported in 1970 in Aspects of the biology of cheetahs in Nairobi National Park (a master’s thesis) found that in Nairobi National Park 37% of cheetah chases were successful but chases of juvenile animals were successful 76% of the time.
- TM Caro, an evolutionary ecologist known for his work on conservation biology, reported in his work Cheetahs of the Serengeti Plains (1994) that:
- Cheetahs had a high success rate when hunting Thomson’s gazelle. It was between 81%-100% with the variation dependent upon a variety of female cheetah ages;
- Groups of sibling cheetahs “had a much better success rate hunting sub-adult and adult Thomson’s gazelles when they pursued simultaneously (52%) than when hunting alone (15%);
- Adult male cheetahs were no more successful when hunting alone in pairs or in threes but when a larger group (coalition) was in operation they tended to focus on larger prey such as wildebeest while single cheetahs concentrated on Thomson’s gazelles;
- When solitary males or pairs of males hunted, around 25% of their hunts were successful (75% failure rate);
- When 3 cheetahs hunted together, they were successful about 50% of the time which means, of course, that they were unsuccessful 50% of the time as well;
- Cheetah mothers hunt larger prey more often and are more successful than females without cubs;
- Lactating females were thinner and lighter than females without cubs and they met their “increased energetic demands by spending more time hunting larger prey and eating almost twice as much”.
The quotes come from page 26 of the book Wild Cats of the World by Mel and Fiona Sunquist as do the facts. I highly recommend this book to anybody who is interested in the wild cat species.
Cheetah claws shown during hunting. Photo in public domain on Pinterest.
RELATED: Cheetah Facts
Photo in public domain.
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