Watch These Confused Cheetahs Chasing a Robot Released in their Home

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: October 19, 2023
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Technology has been interacting with the natural world in a variety of ways. But in the video at the bottom of the page, it’s a bit different. Watch history be made as a robodog is let loose in an enclosure with two curious cheetahs!

Watch the Video Below!

Cheetahs encounter a robot dog for the first time!

How Do Cheetahs Typically React to New Stimuli?

As cubs, cheetahs have a natural response to new stimuli that move. They chase and pounce. These behaviors are inherited as part of their hunting skills. However, as cubs grow into adulthood, they also learn how to respond to different stimuli, further refining their behavior. Although cubs instinctively know to chase and pounce, their hunting skills are not yet developed. For example, cubs don’t know how to deliver a lethal bite or keep their prey from getting away.

What is the Purpose of Using Robot Dogs With Animals?

Robot dogs are capable of performing a variety of tasks, including monitoring and inspection. But why do they look so much like dogs? The answer is practical. With four legs, these robots can navigate uneven terrain more effectively. Plus, they’re equipped to travel at different speeds. They can either walk, trot, or gallop. These robots elicit different responses and researchers were curious to understand how animals would respond in their presence. Hence, the video at the bottom of the page depicts the way cheetahs responded when a robot dog approached them.

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Red robot dog, suitable for industrial detection and remote operation white shadows background

Image: Svetlana123, Shutterstock


Confused Cheetahs vs. Robot

The video was taken at the Sydney Zoo in June of 2021. The robodog featured in the footage is Sparky and it makes up part of an animal interaction project. The person filming begins interviewing the lion and cheetah expert at the zoo as he presents Sparky. The expert notices that Sparky looks like a “pretty heavy-duty unit” and that it could likely do well with both the lions and cheetahs on site.

The next scene presents the general manager as they make their way closer to the cheetahs. They reach the enclosure with Sparky and the two cheetahs are in a large cage, staring intently at Sparky. One cheetah starts hissing and neither can take their eyes off Sparky. They pace within their enclosure as they watch Sparky travel in the larger open area. The cheetahs appear a bit nervous. The expert opens the cage so the cheetahs can approach. One immediately runs toward Sparky but backs off. Sparky runs toward the cheetah and the cheetah backs up again. Watch what happens when the second cheetah, known as “the brave one,” approaches Sparky!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © schani, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License / Original

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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