Lightning-Fast Cheetah Jumps From Cover and Sprints to Tackle a Wildebeest

Cheetah in mid-air running toward the camera
© Marcel Brekelmans/

Written by Hannah Crawford

Updated: October 21, 2023

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Predators in the wild have become masterminds at lying in wait for the perfect moment to strike. This cheetah in the video below was patiently waiting as a herd of wildebeest casually roamed by, having no idea what was in store for them. 

In one swift movement, the cheetah takes off at lightning speed, and instantly all wildebeest scurry off in every direction, literally running for their life. 

One particular wildebeest notices the cheetah is coming for him out of the corner of his eye. To evade the cheetah, the wildebeest thinks he can outsmart the cheetah by quickly maneuvering side to side; unfortunately, this will prove detrimental to the wildebeest.

The cheetah pounces onto the backside of the wildebeest and uses his claws to grip on and flip himself over to the front of the animal. His claws embedded deep in his skin, the cheetah can now go for the throat. 

Once he bit the wildebeest’s throat, the cheetah was now in the perfect position to hold on until the wildebeest gave up. However, this will not prove as easy as the cheetah first thought. The wildebeest is not going down without a fight. 

The wildebeest uses his enormous strength in his hind legs to hold himself up, anticipating his ability to yank the cheetah off. The cheetah’s grip is proving too strong for the wildebeest, so he continues repositioning his stance. 

The wildebeest goes for a solid kick to the ground, hoping to counterbalance himself to pull away from the cheetah’s grip. But, just as he does that, the cheetah readjusts his body under the wildebeest, causing the animal to fall to the ground. The fight is over. 

How strong is a wildebeest? 

A wildebeest shows his brute force strength by showing off his stance

Wildebeest range anywhere from 4 to 5 feet and can weigh up to 600lbs

©Chris EasonCamera location24° 45′ 57.79″ S, 31° 53′ 31.74″ E View this and other nearby images on: OpenStreetMap-24.766054; 31.892150, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – Original / License

According to new research, a wildebeest can be described as having muscle strength that is two and a half times more powerful than a car engine!

This video below could have absolutely ended in a very different manner, and the cheetah knew that. Wildebeests are known for their ability to fight and win those fights in some cases. 

Their strength not only lies in their ability to fight when necessary but also in their ability to go over five days without drinking water. Not only that, but they can continue on journeys upwards of 50 miles. 

Does the cheetah hunt alone?

Leopard stalking a herd of wildebeests

Female cheetahs lead solitary lives and their hunt for survival lies on their perseverance.

©Heinrich Neumeyer/

Unlike the lion, who hunts in a pride together, the cheetah will hunt alone. Their patience and persistence to find the food they need, no matter the time it takes, is unprecedented. 

The cheetah is known as the fastest land animal, known to reach up to speeds of 70mph! These short sprints from a cheetah allow them the ability to pounce before their prey has an opportunity to respond. Making it very successful for them to hunt alone. 

How strong is a cheetah’s bite force?

While cheetahs are known for their speed, their bite force is approximately 475 psi, which is approximately three times stronger than humans. This gives them the perfect opportunity to hold on when required to take an animal down. 

Cheetahs will often go for a smaller animal to take down since they hunt alone, but when necessary, a cheetah will often for the throat of a larger animal to ensure the grip makes it difficult for them to get out of. And with a bite force that strong, those prey aren’t going anywhere. 

Lightening Fast Cheetah Jumps From Cover and Sprints to Tackle a Wildebeest

Watch the video here!

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About the Author

Hannah Crawford is a writer at A-Z Animals where she focuses on reptiles, mammals, and locations in Africa. Hannah has been researching and writing about animals and various countries for over eight years. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Communication\Performance Studies from Pensacola Christian College, which she earned in 2015. Hannah is a resident in Florida, and enjoys theatre, poetry, and growing her fish tank.

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