With the light fading fast, this was one of the last shots I was able to get off before packing it in and heading back to camp for the evening.
Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) are diurnal hunters, most adept at utilizing the daylight and fairly open spaces to take full advantage of their incredible speed. The majority of other cats however, are hunters of the night, coming into their own when their superior night vision gives them a distinct advantage over their more poorly sighted prey.
With darkness fast closing in, her vigilance spoke more to her unease at the presence of danger to her vulnerable cubs than to a need to hunt. Not a kilometer away, we had just left a fantastic sighting of two pride male Lions just setting out on their nights hunting expedition, and I’m sure she sensed their presence and proximity. Utilizing the height of the embankment as a lookout to full effect, she didn’t relax for a moment, but continued her constant scanning of the surrounding bush for any sign of danger.
Mkuze Falls private reserve, South Africa