See the Speed of the Cheetah as Two of the Fast Felines Quickly Catch a Hartebeest!

Written by Hannah Crawford
Updated: October 23, 2023
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Key Points:

  • Hartebeests are large antelopes that live in herds numbering as many as 10,000.
  • Cheetahs are the fastest land mammal alive – capable of reaching speeds up to 70 miles an hour.
  • A coalition is a group of two – five cheetahs that live and hunt together.

Loner Hartebeest Faces a Cheetah Double-Threat

coke's hartebeest, serengeti national park, tanzania

Hartebeests usually travel in large herds.

Image: dktirol, Shutterstock


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At the start of this video, seen below, a hartebeest is leisurely grazing in the open grasslands in Africa. Unbeknownst to him, the danger is lurking near. The high grass provides cover for the cheetahs waiting to pounce at any moment.

This antelope immediately notices that danger is near, and his only chance of survival is to take off running before whatever animals lie in wait for him pounces. The hartebeest takes off at a tremendous speed. Unfortunately for this hartebeest, the animals chasing him are cheetahs. And they absolutely are living up to their title as the fastest land animal.

Check Out This Cheetah Streak in the Video Below!

As he runs, the hartebeest tries to maneuver from the cheetah he sees chasing him. As he tries a zig-zag pattern, he quickly notices two cheetahs, not one. Cleverly, the cheetahs stay on either side of the hartebeest, so his only option is to run straight and not turn. 

Cheetahs Double-Team Their Prey

The lead cheetah runs past the hartebeest, turns quickly, and jumps for the hartebeest’s throat. This slows the antelope down and allows the second cheetah to jump on his back. These cheetahs know that this large beast will be difficult to take down and must work together for a successful kill. 

Types of Big Cats - cheetah

Cheetahs form hunting groups called coalitions or streaks.

©Elana Erasmus/

The antelope has now tripped and rolled, allowing the cheetahs to dig their claws and sink their teeth in further to his flesh. The hartebeest begins to buck with his powerful hind legs and rams his horns into the cheetahs, trying to get whatever angle he can. Nothing is proving fruitful for him, however.

With every bite, the antelope is slowing down even more. The cheetahs readjust their grip; the lead cheetah stays on the head and chomps down hard. The other cheetah reaches down and chomps at his leg, forcing this hartebeest to the ground. The fight is over, the cheetahs have won. 

How Fast Can a Hartebeest Run?

The hartebeest can live in herds of 300 and up to 10,000 at times!


A hartebeest is a very large antelope found in Africa. They can weigh up to 485 pounds and can reach heights of eight feet tall. These stunning animals are not easy to take down. Even though their size makes it seem like they would be slow, they are quite fast. They can run up to 43 miles per hour.

Unfortunately, as impressive as that is, the cheetah is much faster. 

How Fast Can a Cheetah Run?

The cheetah uses its speed to chase down prey, and occasionally to avoid becoming prey itself.

The cheetah uses its speed to chase down prey, and occasionally to avoid becoming prey itself.


The cheetah is known as the fastest land animal alive. Their long slender bodies and flexible spines allow them to reach speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour! This makes it literally impossible for any animal to outrun them.

Is it Normal for Cheetahs to Hunt in Groups?

Cheetah is the fastest land animal. It is diurnal and gregarious. Males will defend their territories to maximize contact with females. Females will live in unguarded home range and they are solitary.

Cheetahs, especially females, are usually solitary but do form groups.


Cheetahs are usually solitary animals but they do form groups often enough. While lions are known for their large prides of related individuals – cheetahs form smaller groups of two to five that are called coalitions. Coalitions are usually males but can include a female who may hunt with the others temporarily.

Coalitions are permanent with the cheetahs forming close bonds and allowing the animals to have more success on the hunt. Unlike larger lions and tigers that possess enough physical strength to over-power sizable prey – cheetahs are slight and speedy. The fastest land mammal in the world times two equals “the Flash” with the power of “Superman”. It’s no wonder two cheetahs on the hunt are called a streak!

Cheetah coalitions are often comprised of related males and are an important aspect of their lives. Aside from good company – the coalition brotherhoods allow the animals to better defend territory, hunt prey and gain access to mates.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Maros Bauer/

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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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