WHEN THIRST TAKES OVER - THE CHEETAH - Acinonyx jabatus by Magaret Meintjes

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Lens: Sigma 70-300mm
Focal Length: 220mm
Exposure Mode:
Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern
1/200 sec – F/5.3
Exposure Comp.: 0 EV



I was very fortunate to find, not one, but two cheetah’s in the middle of a very quiet road in the Kruger National Park.
I couldn’t understand why they would drink, from a little puddle of rainwater, while there was a little stream of water about a hundred yards way.
I noticed that they were very itchy and nervous, kept on looking in the direction of the stream.
I wanted to find out what was bothering them but I also did not want to loose precious time in taking as many captures as possible.
It was only when they eventually quenched their thirst and left me sitting their, that I started a thorough search in the direction that they kept watch on.
I sat there for almost an hour just searching, when I suddenly saw a lioness with three cups close to the waterstream but unfortunately not at a place that I could take a few captures of them, there were just to many obsticales in the way! This was between 7 and 8 in the morning. I drove off and not even a kilometer further I caught a glimbse of the pride, again impossible to do any shoots and they were obviously out on a kill, that was why the cheetah’s were so nervous!

THE “CHEETAH” – Acinonyx jabatus

The streamlined and elegant cheetah, although purported to attain speeds of over 100km per hour, can probably not exceed of 75km per hour for short stretches, but is, nevertheless the fleetest animal on earth.
Their claws, unlike the other cats of the region, are not able to retracted.
They are terrestrial animals, utilizing stout sloping tree trunks to rest on and use as observation posts.
Predominantly diurnal they are most active in early morning and late afternoon. In hot weather they rest in the heat of the day, preferring an elevated position from where they can keep an eye out for danger. They are more solitary than social animals. Males form strongly cohesive bachelor groups. The females are not joined by the males except during oestrus.
Vocalisation is a curious chirruping, rather like a birdcall. This may be accompanied by a ‘chirr’ sound. When content they purr loudly and growl, cough, hiss or snarl. They raise the hair on their back when they threaten.
Cheetahs are not aggressive towards each other except where males battle over a female in oestrus. These can be serious skirmishes which may leave one of the contestants dead. Their bad record of difficult breeding has been ascribed variously to an inbred genetic difficulty and, by some zoologists, to the possible occurrence of a serious plague in times past which wiped out most of the cheetah leaving very few survivors and insufficient unrelated individuals to perpetuate a very viable gene pool. This would have inhibited successful ongoing breeding. They also have a complicated courtship process, which further increases the breeding problem.
The beautiful king cheetah is a genetically abberant animal which occasionally manifests in populations of cheetah in central and southern Zimbabwe, eastern Botswana, north eastern, northern and western Transvaal.
Lion and leopard are predators of the cheetah and lion and hyaenas chase the cheetah from its prey. A litter of one to six, usually two to four, altricial cubs are born in a rocky crevice. They are carefully hidden by the mother while she hunts. Despite this they often fall prey to predators.
FOOD: The principal food is made up by medium to small antelope or the young of the larger antelope. Cheetahs also prey on terrestrial birds up to the size of the ostrich. Hares, springhaas, young warthogs and porcupines are also taken. When hunting is done in a pack they will sometimes separate giraffe calf and pull it down. They are frequently injured when they tackle large prey such as buffalo, giraffe, wildebeest or zebra. They will avoid confrontation with large herd or any animal, preferring to hunt the fringes, tackling stragglers and young.

I was born and still live in Africa.
Live a life close to nature, where I get the inspiration to do what I love most…., “Photography”.
Where I live and what I do is my destiny. I am grateful for the privilege

My Images Do Not Belong To The Public Domain.
All images are copyright. All The Materials Contained May Not Be Reproduced, Copied, Edited, Published, Transmitted Or Downloaded in Any Way.

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  • ginabgood1
    ginabgood1about 5 years ago

    Gorgeous! What a lucky moment to capture!

  • Thank you so much for your visit and kind comment Gina, dearly appreciated, take care x

    – Magaret Meintjes

  • melynda blosser
    melynda blosserabout 5 years ago

    wow gorgeous cats, love to watch them, great shot

  • Thank you so much for your visit and very kind comment, take care x

    – Magaret Meintjes

  • Dawn B Davies-McIninch
    Dawn B Davies-...about 5 years ago

    beautiful shot mags, absolutly stunning, dawnx

  • Thank you so much my dear friend, glad you enjoyed this one, you are a preditor person, discovered that in your work. Take care sweetie, hugs x

    – Magaret Meintjes

  • Kimberly Chadwick
    Kimberly Chadwickabout 5 years ago

    Just a great all around image here! Fave for me no doubt~☺

  • Thank you so much Kims, I am honoured for the fav, you are a stunning artist! take care sweetie xx

    – Magaret Meintjes

  • mikequigley
    mikequigleyabout 5 years ago

    fab shot of nature – mq

  • Thank you so much dear long-time friend, i always appreciate your visits and kind comments, take care x

    – Magaret Meintjes

  • Ladyshark
    Ladysharkabout 5 years ago


  • Thank you so much for your visit and great comment, I appreciate it, take care x

    – Magaret Meintjes

  • Karen  Moore
    Karen Mooreabout 5 years ago

    OMG Maggie, Stunning photo, to be able to see one not in a zoo is wow !!! What a wonderful Image a fav for sure !!!!!!

  • Thank you so much sweetie, I am honoured for the fav and so happy you enjoyed it! Take care xx

    – Magaret Meintjes

  • DebraLee Wiseberg
    DebraLee Wisebergabout 5 years ago

    WOW…what a capture!


  • Thank you so much for your visit and very kind comment Debs, I appreciate it, take care and have a great weekend !x

    – Magaret Meintjes

  • AliceDoodles
    AliceDoodlesabout 5 years ago

    Your cohosts Cee and Chris

  • Thank you so much Chris, take care!

    – Magaret Meintjes

  • emmy2
    emmy2about 5 years ago

    Awesome Capture Mags!!! The detail and colors are so wonderful!! Truely magnifasent!!!

  • Thank you so much dear vics, must apologise for not visiting more often, helping with four groups and all the work around here and the winter hunting season on hand is really keeping me very bussy! Hardly get time to download my own work. Happy Valentine and take care dear friend xxx

    – Magaret Meintjes

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