How Does a Cheetah Defend Itself?

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The cheetah is not as large and strong as most other predators, it defends itself by avoiding confrontation and surrendering its prey to other animals. If attacked, an adult cheetah can also use its speed to outrun other animals. Cheetah cubs protect themselves by hiding in thick bush.

A cheetah relies on its agility and speed to capture its prey, so it normally will not risk injury by fighting other predators. Exceptions include mother cheetahs defending their young and groups of male cheetahs teaming up to chase away other predators. A cheetah loses up to 50 percent of its kills to interlopers. To prevent this, it hunts in the mornings and evenings, when enemies are dormant. It also eats immediately after it downs its prey, before intruders such as lions, leopards, hyenas, jackals, baboons and vultures arrive.

Up to 90 percent of cheetah cubs are killed in the first weeks of life by wild dogs, lions, leopards, hyenas and eagles. Litters generally consist of three cubs, and they live with their mothers for the first two or three years of their lives, for protection and training. Female cheetahs usually live alone, but male cheetahs often remain with their male litter-mates in groups called coalitions even into adulthood.