What Do Cheetahs Eat?


A cheetah's diet is largely made up of smaller gazelles such as the Thomson's gazelle, though they have been known to prey on zebra and wildebeests when hunting in pairs. Cheetahs may prey on smaller animals such as hares, birds and lizards. Like all predators, a cheetah's diet will vary depending on what kills they can make.

While best known for their world-record speed, cheetahs don't chase their prey down over long distances as they are not built for endurance. In the extreme heat of the savanna the cheetah can quickly overheat from exerting itself. Instead cheetahs slowly stalk animals within the cover of brush and then explode into a burst of speed. Generally they can overtake their prey quickly. Like other big cats, the fatal injury inflicted on their prey is a suffocating bite to the throat.

Because of their slight stature, the cheetah often has its kills taken by other predators like lions and hyenas. To counter this, they often eat quickly to get their fill before it's too late. It would be far too risky for the slim cheetah to take on much larger predators to defend its kill. Other animals that attempt to steal cheetah kills include vultures and jackals.