This clip could so easily be entitled “What on earth is this warthog thinking?” It shows an adult warthog seemingly with a death wish and totally unaware of the danger posed by a cheetah. But if we do a little research, it makes a lot more sense.
Cheetahs and Warthogs
Cheetahs are found in Africa, Asia and Eurasia. They are large and powerful cats but are often not included in the ‘big cat’ group because they do not roar. Even so, they have immense speed (they can run at up to 60 mph in short bursts) and are very strong. Their non-retractable claws stick into the ground to help them accelerate.
Their usual method of hunting prey is not to lie down and wait for the prey to come walking up to them as we see here! They usually stalk their prey in long grass, moving silently and with great stealth. Because they have fantastic eyesight, they can spot the animal up to 30 yards away. They creep up and give chase at the last moment – by then it is very difficult for the prey to get away.
Cheetahs are carnivores but they eat large herbivores and that includes gazelle, impala, wildebeest and zebra but they are also fast enough to catch hare, gamebirds and rabbits. When it comes to warthogs, however, they would only attempt to take on a younger animal which may explain why this cheetah is so indifferent to the adult warthog’s presence.
Warthog’s Eyesight and Hearing
Warthogs are mainly herbivores and search for just about anything they can eat in the soil. They do this by driving their strong snout into the ground using their powerful neck muscles. They are foragers and have an excellent sense of smell to find roots and bulbs. However, strictly speaking they are omnivores because they will eat insects and small animals that they discover in the ground especially if plant material is scarce.
Their eyesight is not great and their eyes are on the top of the head so that they can look out for predators when they are foraging. However, this warthog is very close to the cheetah so it must have spotted it and perhaps does not perceive this particular big cat as a threat. In fact, it seems to be quite fascinated by this big cat and wants to check it out!
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