Watch This Foolish Wildebeest Try And Out-Run Two Sprinting Cheetahs

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Written by Sharon Parry

Updated: November 10, 2023

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The cheetah uses its speed to chase down prey, and occasionally to avoid becoming prey itself.
© iStock.com/slowmotiongli

Another spectacular video from the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. Here we see Winda and Oloynok the cheetahs chase down and kill a wildebeest. As the video below shows, it’s not exactly easy to outrun a cheetah!

Where Do Cheetahs Live?

This particular footage was captured in Kenya. Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus)are part of the Felidae family but belong to the same subfamily (felinae) as the lynx and ocelot. There are actually several subspecies of cheetah.

They are found in southern and eastern Africa although a small population still persists in Iran. Their species has been designated as vulnerable and decreasing with around 6,500 mature individuals remaining.

As we see in this clip, cheetahs like to live in semi-open country like bush and savanna woodlands amongst bushes, medium length grass, and trees. This sort of vegetative cover is needed for them to hunt effectively.

Cheetahs hunt alone or in small groups

©Stolz, Gary M., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons – Original / License

Is It Normal Behavior For Cheetahs To Chase Prey?

Yes, it is typical for cheetahs to hunt in small groups although they will also hunt alone. They prefer to target prey that has become isolated as they are easier to catch. Wildebeest generally live in herds but this one seems to be alone making it an ideal target.

They watch from a vantage point and then silently approach keeping as close to the ground as possible with their head lowered. Commonly you see them trotting and then freezing to avoid detection. The plan is to get to within about 160 feet of the target before making the attack.

Are Cheetahs Faster Than Wildebeest?

Wildebeest are not slow! They can run at up to 50 mph and that is fast enough to escape many predators but unfortunately not a cheetah.

Cheetahs are super fast! Their average speed chase is 40 mph but they can reach 70 mph in short bursts. Consequently, they must reach the wildebeest within about 300 yards because after that they will not have the stamina to maintain that speed.

Cheetah chases generally last less than 20 seconds and never for more than a minute. We can’t see the kill here because it is hidden by long grass and then vehicles but it is usually swift. Cheetahs take down the animal by barging into it or by swiping at the animal’s leg so they trip over. A powerful bite to the neck or muzzle quickly finishes the wildebeest off!


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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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