Are cheetahs solitary?

Female cheetah and cubs
Female cheetah and cubs. Image by Carole Henderson from Pixabay .
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The social organisation of cheetahs is unique among the wild cat species. Females are solitary unless they are looking after their cubs, while males are either solitary or they live in coalitions (functioning groups) of brothers or unrelated males. This pretty well sums it up and the description comes from Wild Cats of the World (see T.M. Caro reference below).

Male cheetah coalitions don’t behave like the lions’ counterpart. Male cheetahs mate with as many females as possible whereas male lions in a coalition remain attached to and mate with the females of a single pride of lions.

It seems that cheetahs live in lower densities compared to other large carnivores. At 1987, in the Serengeti there were 1.5 times the number of leopards, 4 times as many lions and 9 times as many hyenas as cheetahs (M Borner et al – 1987 – The decline in the Serengeti Thompson’s gazelle population). The trouble with this sort of information is that it is time sensitive because population numbers of the big cats are decreasing all the time and quite rapidly in Africa. There are many reasons, all of which concern the impact of the growing presence of humans as the human population on the African continent grows rapidly (the fastest growth in the world). This changes the dynamics.

In 1994, there was about one cheetah per 100 square kilometres on average and overall. The solitary female cheetah is very solitary indeed. However, in some seasons the densities increased to 40 cheetahs per 100 square kilometres (T.M. Caro – 1994 – Cheetahs of the Serengeti plains).


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