While they share many similarities, including their habitat, leopards and cheetahs are actually in stiff competition for resources on the African savanna. They may not go after each other often but that doesn’t stop the two big cats from giving each other a hard time.
This video shows cheetahs annoying a leopard as she goes about her day. Two cheetahs get closer and closer to a leopard. They aren’t hunting him but probably just trying to get him to leave the area so that they have first dibs on any prey that comes by. Both cheetahs and leopards are carnivores and often prey on the same animals, such as Thomson’s gazelles.
The leopard isn’t about to give in, though. She takes a few steps, then looks back to the closer of the two cheetahs. Each time, the cheetah freezes as if to say “nothing to see here!” If you have ever watched young siblings try to annoy each other, you’re probably very familiar with this routine.
The two species are similar in size and both have spots but they aren’t actually closely related at all. In fact, they belong to two different genera. The leopard is part of the Panthera genus. It also includes lions, tigers, and jaguars. The cheetah, on the other hand, is the only species in the Acinonyx genus.
Leopard’s Had Enough
After a few back-and-forth glances that don’t deter the cheetahs from leaving the leopard alone, she decides to settle things. She bolts at the closer cheetah and then veers for the one standing further away.
The cheetahs run off and the leopard comes back to her spot. While cheetahs are known for their speed, leopards are also very fast and agile. The female leopard in this video moves back and forth quickly as she runs at the two cheetahs. They are smart enough to run in opposite directions, which keeps her from getting full speed and chasing them down. The cheetahs would likely outrun the leopard at short distances but they aren’t going to take any chances.
You can clearly see the power in the leopard’s muscles as she springs into action. She’s able to turn on a dime to change direction and go after each cheetah in turn. Leopards are stealthy while cheetahs are the masters of speed. For this reason, leopards tend to be better hunters overall, although no animal can outrun a cheetah at short distances.
The cheetahs take off into the tall grass having learned that this leopard wants to be left alone.
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