Close cheetah enounter of the first kind

All I know about this 5-minute video is that it was filmed at the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, next to the Serengeti, and that the tourists in this vehicle were lucky in two ways. Cheetahs don’t attack humans very often (but some do have rabies).

h/t: Stephen


  1. Josh
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    My guess would be that some surreptitious baiting has been going on in the past so that tourists would be more likely to have a positive wildlife encounter. That is just a theory.

    • Val
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      I don’t believe there’s been any baiting. Highly illegal and would be most unwise, and unnecessary. Cheetahs love high vantage points (for hunting) and have become accustomed over many years to sit on top of vehicles. I’ve had them lick my hands, assured by the guides it was safe. They are big, affectionate cats who know (in the Mara) that humans are not a (direct) threat.

    • eric
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      This has actually being going on for years.

      Many many years ago a BBC show called “Big Cat Diary” was filming cheetahs in the Masai Mara when a young adult female jumped on one of the filming jeeps to escape something chasing it (I forget what). The camera crew remained still, and the cheetah eventually left. But the cheetah learned from that encounter that jeeps were safe and other animals didn’t like them, so she kept doing it. She also started using them as ‘spotting rocks’ to survey the landscape. When she had cubs, the cubs learned the same behavior. And so on, and so on, and so on… I watched that show in the mid 1990s, so if her lineage was successful (and it appears the answer to that is: it was), then at least some of the Masai Mara cheetahs must be up to 8 or 9 generations of being ‘jeep-using cheetahs’ by now.

      Good show too, if you can find it.

      • eric
        Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        But to answer your question, there was no intentional or surreptitious baiting. The crews don’t do anything to attract the cheetahs. They don’t give them food or anything, don’t touch them, basically stick with the ‘noninterference’ concept as much as is possible when you have a cheetah climbing on or under your car. It’s just that these particular cheetahs learned on their own that a parked jeep with humans in it is a moderately safe, high place.

        • eric
          Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          …and my final comment for the moment, but they actually do take their non-interference concept very seriously. At one point the cheetah starts destroying one of their top-mounted cameras…and the let her do it rather than shoo her off or otherwise actively engage. Another time she pees right through the open top of the jeep onto the crew. They let her do it, though they naturally squawk a bit and move around to avoid it.

          • darrelle
            Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

            And that too.

      • darrelle
        Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        I remember that!

  2. rickflick
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Quite a thrill for the tourists. I’d be under the seat.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:36 pm | Permalink


  3. Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Wonder if cheetha is attracted to vehicles that make those continual odd clicking noises.

  4. Ian Clark
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    It seems to like the smell of the vehicle or its occupants.

  5. Randy schenck
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Somehow it just looks a little stupid to me. But then, humans are good at that.

  6. Merilee
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Wow! I’ve seen cheetahs in Masai Mara, but none thst close! I’m just curious why there was only the one guy in the first jeep??

    • darrelle
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Everybody else either ran or was hiding.

      • Merilee
        Posted March 13, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        That’s what I figured.

        • darrelle
          Posted March 13, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

          I don’t know if I would have been able to not touch that magnificent creature if I had been in that situation.

          • Merilee
            Posted March 13, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

            I know I would have wanted to scratch its cheeks, I’m sure at my great peril.

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted March 14, 2017 at 6:56 am | Permalink

        That guy with the glasses was one cool dude!

        • darrelle
          Posted March 14, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

          He was indeed. I am envious of him. And Val up above!

  7. grasshopper
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    It’s a good thing cheetahs are readily spotted.

  8. Heather Hastie
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful experience that would have been!

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