Academic journal article Science and Children

How Cheetahs Outsmart Lions and Hyenas

Academic journal article Science and Children

How Cheetahs Outsmart Lions and Hyenas

Article excerpt

Cheetahs in the Serengeti National Park adopt different strategies while eating to deal with threats from top predators such as lions or hyenas.

A new study shows that male cheetahs and single females eat their prey as quickly as possible. Mothers with cubs, on the other hand, watch out for possible threats while their young are eating to give them enough time to eat their fill.

Cheetahs are medium-sized carnivores that live alongside large carnivores such as lions and spotted hyenas. These large carnivores are known to not only attack cheetah cubs but also steal prey in an act called kleptoparasitism. Cheetahs do not have the strength to haul their kills up trees to keep them safe from scavengers as a leopard does, nor can they physically defend themselves against a lion. They therefore tend to hunt when larger predators are away or less active.

The researchers studied 35 years of observations from more than 400 hunts involving 159 cheetahs in the Serengeti in northern Tanzania to find out how cheetah behavior while eating is altered by threats from larger predators. …

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