What Eats Cheetahs? [List of 5 Cheetah Predators] (2023)

Cheetahs are majestic cats renowned for their impressive speed and fast reflexes, especially when hunting. However, by being the fastest land mammals, cheetahs will also use this natural talent to escape the danger.

Still, they are the most vulnerable among the ‘big cats’ – the primary reason is that they are the smallest species. So, what eats cheetahs in the wild?

Hyenas, lions, eagles, and leopards are animals that eat cheetahs; however, cheetah cubs are particularly vulnerable. Less than 15% of cheetah cubs survive juvenile age due to frequent predation. Besides their natural predators, cheetahs are often poached and killed by humans, which is the main source of adult cheethas mortality.

Table of Contents

Cheetah Predators

Lions

Lions primarily feed on herbivorous animals such as antelope, zebras, buffalo, wildebeest, and giraffes, so they will not actively hunt and kill cheetahs as a primary source of food. However, lions will kill cheetah cubs and even adults if an opportunity presents itself.

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Lions have also been known to steal prey from other predators, and cheetahs have also been killed by them as they fight over the same prey. When food sources are extremely scarce, perhaps due to famine or disease, not only will lions kill cheetah cubs for food, but adult cheetahs will also be actively hunted down.

Both lions and cheetahs have several things in common; they share habitats, they prey on some of the same species, and additionally, lions are a diurnal species like cheetahs. These common factors mean that lions and cheetahs are competitors in the wild. With changes in their habitat, this dynamic is also being affected.

Related: What Eats Lions?

Hyenas

Hyenas have been known to hunt cheetah cubs. Cheetah cubs in their early years cannot fend for themselves and rely heavily on their mother’s kills in order to survive. While the mother is absent, they are exposed and very vulnerable to being killed by hyenas and other predators.

Hyenas are classified as scavengers, and they are also opportunistic feeders. They will hunt adult cheetahs when circumstances provide the opportunity. They will hunt for their prey, force other predators off their kills, scavenge the carcasses of other dead animals, and even burglarize food stores. They will not hesitate to battle it out with cheetahs over prey.

Although cheetahs breed throughout the year, their cubs are frequently killed by other predators because the mother has to leave them every single day to hunt. Unfortunately due to such harsh circumstances, up to 75% of cubs born do not live beyond 3 months, so in her lifespan, a female cheetah may only raise up to two cubs to full maturity.

Eagles

Eagles prey on cheetah cubs, as they are an easier target than adult cheetahs. They are birds of prey renowned for their impeccable vision, able to spot their target from a distance of about 2 miles (3.2km). As a result, an eagle can spot exposed cheetah cubs long before the cubs know they are a target.

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Eagles feed on live prey, swooping down, grabbing their target with their strong talons, and decapitating their prey before consuming it. In the absence of their mother, young cheetah cubs often fall prey to these raptor birds.

Young cheetah cubs cannot run as fast as adult cheetahs. They also weigh much less than adults.

These two factors make them the preferred target because an eagle can carry the cub away in its talons to feed on it. Many times, a mother cheetah is unable to save its cubs since eagles are not only swift but also have the advantage of flight.

Read Also: What Eats Polar Bears?

Leopards

Leopards are also known to kill and eat cheetah cubs. However, leopards are known for their broad diet and opportunistic behavior, and in case of food scarcity, they will also try to hunt down adult cheetahs.

Besides cheetahs, if a possibility arises, leopards will also eat other predators and their juveniles, such as jackals, foxes, and genets.

From our standpoint, life in the wild is often brutal and ruthless. However, from the animals’ perspective, getting rid of competition before the competition becomes a real threat seems logical.

(Video) Cheetah | Amazing Animals 04 | Timeless

Most cheetah cub deaths are associated with cutting down the competition and displaying dominance rather than being a food source for leopards and other predators.

Humans

Cheetahs face many threats to their survival, primarily from human activity that encroaches on their habitat. Some human communities hunt and kill them for ceremonial purposes.

Also, cheetahs are frequently hunted for fur, skin, and other body parts, and even for their meat. Additionally, cheetahs are (surprisingly) most commonly killed because of being a ‘threat to livestock’, even though cheetahs normally do not hunt domestic animals.

The natural habitat of cheetahs has shrunk to 91 percent of its historic range. They are now only found only in six African countries.

Taking everything into account, the population of these majestic cats has recently changed from vulnerable to endangered. The number of cheetahs left in the wilderness is only 7,100. And we, humans, are the most responsible for that.

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How do Cheetahs Protect Themselves?

Cheetahs have some ways of protecting themselves from other predators. Like many animals, nature’s-given camouflage works to the cheetah’s advantage in protecting itself from being spotted by predators.

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They are also good at hiding and prefer to live in areas where there is some cover, such as grass or diffused bush, where they can lie low and blend into their surroundings. This environment is good for stalking prey but also for hiding when needed. When a female has cubs, she will hide them in densely vegetated thickets for their safety.

Speed is another way that cheetahs use to protect themselves; they can reach speeds of 68mph in less than 4 seconds. Many predators cannot run as fast or get to their top speeds in the time it takes a cheetah to get to its top speed. Cheetahs have an advantage over many animals in this area, as they can flee from predators.

Related: What Animals Eat Dogs?

What Are Cheetahs Afraid of?

Cheetahs are by far the most scared of the other big cats. They tend to keep a low profile in order to survive. This is because they are the smallest big cats in terms of size and weight. Consequently, they are not physically built for confrontation or fighting. In a fight between a cheetah and other big cats such as lions or leopards, they would be no match.

Additionally, there are predators that are tougher than cheetahs. Although smaller in size, for example, hyenas are very vicious and have been known to take down animals much larger than themselves and even steal prey from predators that are physically stronger than them.

When it comes to the fight or flight instinct, cheetahs would rather flee the area when conflict arises.

Wrapping it Up – What Eats Cheetahs?

Besides humans, adult cheetahs do not have to worry about many predators. On the other hand, cheetahs cubs are often killed and eaten by other big cats, hyenas, and eagles. Due to being frequently targeted by predators, the population status of cheetahs is endangered, estimating only 7,100 individuals in the wild.

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Thank you for reading the “what eats cheetahs” article. If you liked this post, we would like to recommend you a similar read: What Eats Crocodiles?

FAQs

What predators eat cheetahs? ›

“What eats me”

Lions, leopards, and hyenas will try to prey upon cheetah, particularly cheetah cubs. Because they are so fast, adult cheetahs are difficult to catch.

What are 5 things cheetahs eat? ›

What do cheetahs eat? These carnivores eat small antelope, including springbok, steenbok, duikers, impala and gazelles, as well as the young of larger animals, such as warthogs, kudu, hartebeest, oryx, roan and sable. Cheetahs also hunt game birds and rabbits.

How many predators does a cheetah have? ›

Technically cheetahs don't have any predators, because they aren't preyed on by any other animals. However, a large number of cheetah cubs are killed by other predators, like lions. In fact, the mortality rate of cheetah cubs is around 70%, and most of those fatalities are lion-related.

Is a cheetah a good predator? ›

Cheetahs are one of the most successful hunters on the savanna but their kills are very often stolen by larger carnivores or predators that hunt in groups.

Can lion eat cheetah? ›

Lions were first fingered as being particularly tough on Africa's cheetahs in 1994. A researcher documented the big cats attacking and killing up to 57% of cheetah cubs in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park.

Do tigers eat cheetahs? ›

No, tigers don't live where lions and cheetahs do, but lions will definitely prey on cheetah cubs when they find them.

Do cheetahs eat cows? ›

In central Namibia, farmers have a problem with cheetahs. The cheetahs prey on their baby cows (calves). In turn, the farmers often try to kill the wild cats in order to protect their cattle!

Do cheetahs eat chicken? ›

A cheetah's food source changes when living in captivity. In zoos, they eat horse meat, chicken, beef, rabbit, and meat-based feed specifically designed for their diet.

Do cheetahs eat other cats? ›

Cheetahs will eat approximately 10-15 pounds of meat every day. They will even feed on other cats such as tigers and leopards. Also, they will hunt jackals, wildebeest, duikers, springbok, steenbok, ostrich, foxes, etc.

What kills the cheetah? ›

Lions and hyenas will kill adult cheetahs, but cubs are especially vulnerable. Cheetah cub survival is only around 5% in East Africa's Serengeti plains, largely due to lion predation. Ultimately, the biggest issue is giving cheetahs more space.

Does crocodile eat cheetah? ›

Crocodiles are so powerful that even some of the predators like lions, cheetahs or tigers approach any pond or river in a forest cautiously because of their fear. A video has surfaced on the internet recently, showing how a crocodile devoured a cheetah cub, which had gone to the water's edge for a drink.

What animal is cheetah scared of? ›

Cheetahs are scared of hyenas because cheetahs know how strong the bite of hyenas is. A hyena can easily bite and crush the bones of other animals, including the cheetahs. So the cheetah will not choose to fight against the hyena and rely on its speed to get away from the hyena to avoid severe injury.

Do cheetahs meow? ›

They meow and purr just like a regular housecat. Even though cheetahs, which can weigh up to 159 pounds, are quite large, their anatomy is that of a small cat. Their voice box is fixed, with vocal cords that vibrate as they breath in and out. This allows them to purr, but strips away their ability to roar.

Do cheetahs like fish? ›

No they do not. In general, the diet of the cheetah consists of gazelles, wildebeest calves, impalas, and smaller hoofed animals in its habitat. Furthermore, cheetahs may eat rabbits, birds, hares, antelopes, and warthogs.

Can a person beat up a cheetah? ›

Can an average human kill a cheetah in a fight? Sure, it's possible, while a cheetah might be on the weaker side when it comes to big cats, they're still relatively strong and are capable of bringing down many large animals.

Does lion eat dog? ›

Even a small 300-pound female lion can easily kill a dog. Lions and wild dogs share some of the same prey species, like impala, so lions view dogs as threats to their food supply, and try to kill any dogs they can catch.

Are cheetahs afraid of dogs? ›

Cheetahs are not normally aggressive and will usually quickly retreat from a noisy dog. The Livestock Guarding Dog Program is such a creative way to protect an endangered species.

Why do lions roll in poop? ›

The majority suggest that rolling around in other animal dung or carcasses could disguise the smell of predators and assist them in hunting.

Will a cheetah eat a dog? ›

The dog normally becomes the dominant figure in the relationship by becoming the protector and leader. The cheetah will not hurt or kill his friend.

Can a lion fight a cheetah? ›

A lion would win a fight against a cheetah. Neither creature is likely to ambush the other owing to their incredible senses.

Do hyenas eat cheetahs? ›

“It is inherently risky for a cheetah, especially one with cubs, to interact with larger predators such as spotted hyenas, as spotted hyenas are known to kill both cheetah cubs and adults,” they say in their paper.

Do cheetahs drink milk? ›

Cheetah cubs drink their mother's milk until they're about six to eight weeks old.

Do cheetahs eat bones? ›

Cheetahs consumed all bones, except skull, of prey weighing <10 kg, and consumed a substantial proportion of the rib cage vertebral column of 30-50-kg prey. Juvenile cheetahs (aged 6-16 months) had no diffi crushing and consuming bones.

Will cheetahs eat giraffes? ›

Answer and Explanation: While giraffes do not form a large part of a cheetah's diet, they are capable and do sometimes kill and eat baby giraffes, or giraffes that have died or are dying. Cheetahs generally hunt antelopes and medium-sized animals, such as rabbits, impalas, and gazelles.

Do cheetah eat dead animals? ›

Cheetahs rarely scavenge remains they did not kill themselves, unlike other African predators. Lions, hyenas, and even vultures will drive a cheetah away from its kill, so a cheetah must often eat quickly or flee to avoid confrontations.

What can a cheetah not eat? ›

Cheetahs don't like fatty meat and prefer not to eat livestock. However farm land can often form part of their territory and because they are active during the day they are often seen on farmer's land, putting them in danger of being shot, trapped or poisoned.

Do cheetahs eat Eagles? ›

It would be challenging for cheetahs to catch eagles during their flight, or even when they are on the ground, as eagles have extremely sharp senses. Hence, it is hardly ever observed that cheetahs are eating an eagle, although it may happen if a starving cheetah comes across the dead body of an eagle.

Do cheetahs drink blood? ›

If successful, the cheetah begins eating its kill quickly to prevent opportunistic animals like lions and hyenas from getting in the way. Cheetahs rarely scavenge for food and stay hydrated by drinking the blood or urine of their prey.

Will a big cat eat a little cat? ›

Originally Answered: Will a big cat (ex. Cheetahs, Lions, etc.) eat a smaller cat (a house cat)? As other answers have indicated, big cats will kill smaller cats.

Can a cat mate with a cheetah? ›

The size disparity means domestic cats and cheetahs cannot form hybrids: their relative sizes make the cat a snack, not a mate and even if artifical means were used (very unreliable in felids) the gestational mismatch would be too great (cheetah gestation period is 93 days, domestic cat gestation period is around 63 ...

Can a cheetah be a pet? ›

“Large carnivores, including cheetahs, do not make good pets. Cheetahs are a delicate species that can suffer from many health-related issues and require special food and care, as well as physical and mental stimulation.

Can a cheetah hurt a human? ›

As a result, they are very lightweight and aren't built to fight large and aggressive animals. It is very uncommon that cheetahs will attack humans. Only a few nonfatal attacks happen each year, and those are almost always the result of aggravated cheetahs in captivity.

How strong is a cheetah? ›

Cheetahs can generate four times the maximum power output of Usain Bolt when they sprint and have a manoeuvrability unmatched by any other animal when hunting prey, according to scientists who tracked the big cats in their natural habitat.

Can python eat crocodile? ›

Crocodiles and alligators actually end up on pythons' plates with relative frequency: In 2005, a deceased Burmese python was found in the Florida Everglades with an American alligator bursting out of its stomach, and in 2014, an olive python—the same species photographed by Muller—was caught on camera killing and ...

Can a cheetah eat a hippo? ›

The only known predators of hippopotamuses are big cats, like lions and cheetahs, hyenas, and crocodiles. However, even these large and brave carnivores will tend to predate on calves and weakened hippopotamuses.

Will a lion eat a croc? ›

"Occasionally, crocodiles have been known to attack lions while they drink at the water's edge (but lions are also known for attacking and eating baby crocodiles)."

Does cheetah hate water? ›

Cheetahs are terrible tree climbers; though they can swim, they usually avoid water.

Has a cheetah ever killed a hyena? ›

Late last year, safari guide Onesmus Irungu photographed a rather unusual scene on a morning out in Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve: a spotted hyena getting chased off its kill by a mother cheetah and her three cubs.

What is cheetah called in English? ›

The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a large cat native to Africa and central Iran.

Do big cats purr? ›

In big cats—lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars—a length of tough cartilage runs up the hyoid bones to the skull. This feature prevents purring but also gives the larynx enough flexibility to produce a full- throated roar—114 decibels' worth in the case of one lion tested.

Do cheaters roar? ›

Cheetahs belong to the "purring cats" subfamily and as such do not roar.

What big cat Cannot roar? ›

Smaller cats purr; big cats (with the exception of cheetahs, lynx, and snow leopards) roar.

Do cheetahs like watermelon? ›

Cheetahs feed on animals such as deer rabbits, birds and lizards. Sometimes they eat fruit too. They likes watermelon. In the wild, most cheetahs live only 10 to 15 year.

Can cheetahs swim? ›

Cheetahs—the fastest land mammals on the planet—are incredible creatures. They're able to reach speeds of up to 70 mph and can swim (although they don't like to).

Do cheetahs like humans? ›

It is a well-recorded fact that Cheetahs are docile animals and do not pose a threat to humans. These beautiful cats are shy and will avoid direct contact with humans.

Can a cheetah beat a Lamborghini? ›

But maybe you don't realize how quickly they can get there: A cheetah can accelerate from 0 to 60 m.p.h. in an absurd three seconds flat, making it faster than a Ferrari Enzo, a McLaren F1 and a Lamborghini Gallardo.

What to do if a lion is chasing you? ›

It is vital to stand your ground, perhaps retreating very slowly, but to continue facing the lion while clapping your hands, shouting and waving your arms around to make yourself look bigger. Most charges are mock charges, so you will usually be fine. And remember: hold your ground! Never run or turn your back.

Can you fight a tiger? ›

An average man won't stand a chance when he goes head to head with an adult tiger. These animals are predators and are designed for efficient hunting and killing and they do that almost every week of their lives.

Do crocodiles eat cheetahs? ›

Only crocodiles (specifically, the Nile crocodile) do. An adult Nile crocodile is easily capable of killing a cheetah, but Ive never heard of it happening. I have seen Nile crocs kill leopards and lions though and adult saltwater crocodiles have been recorded preying upon tigers.

Do cheetahs eat giraffes? ›

While giraffes do not form a large part of a cheetah's diet, they are capable and do sometimes kill and eat baby giraffes, or giraffes that have died or are dying. Cheetahs generally hunt antelopes and medium-sized animals, such as rabbits, impalas, and gazelles.

Do cats eat crocodiles? ›

Big cats – like lions, leopards and tigers – are among the few animals with enough brawn and moxie to take on a full-grown crocodilian. While these predators certainly target the occasional toothy prey, jaguars are likely the most frequent croc killers.

Do cheetahs eat elephants? ›

Do cheetahs eat elephants? Elephants are very large in size, and it would be impossible for a cheetah to hunt them down, even when hunting in a pack. The only time a cheetah will consider eating an elephant is if it is already dead and other food sources are scarce.

Does lion fear hyena? ›

Lions, are not scared of hyenas at all. In fact, they are well capable of eradicating entire clans of hyenas should they wish to do so. Hence, it is more of a choice that lions have in terms of co-existing with the other predators or erasing them from the jungle.

Do cheetahs hate water? ›

Cheetahs are terrible tree climbers; though they can swim, they usually avoid water.

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