Cheetah Cubs (Updated): Learning to Hunt at 12 months
Shot on Location:
Ndutu Safari Lodge, Tanzania, February 2016 with the 1Dx and Canon 500mm f/4 II; and, February 2013 with the 1D Mark IV, 1Dx, 500mm f/4 and 70-200 f/2.8 II/1.4x TC III
It's awesome watching cheetah moms teaching her cubs to hunt with real subjects, typically when the cubs are around a year old. The majority of cubs don't make it past a month old, so raising four cubs to this age is a real accomplishment and a ton of work with five mouths to feed and the need for constant training.
The first set of quadruplets, less than a year old, were a blast to watch as they practiced hunting skills non-stop, chasing and tackling each other in constant, tireless rotation. But when Mom gave them an unusually large teaching subject to catch, the cubs expertly switched from play mode to serious mode. They swiftly caught a young wildebeest as large as they were just like pros. It was so amazing to see at their young age.
The second set of cubs were probably a few months older and weren't quite as developed. But Mom kept them on their toes and the cubs knew not to slack.
All images © Christina J. Prestegard 2004 - 2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.