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Did you know that leopards eat cheetahs?

Avatar of inke inke 31. August 2017 - Environment

Leopards are loners and they prey on a large variety of animals. They are the most widespread large predator in Namibia, right up to the outskirts of Windhoek.

A single thighbone and the upper and lower jaw of a cheetah were the only body parts left after four days, as proof of a trauma in the bush in north-east Namibia. Other than that, nothing was left of a cheetah that had fallen prey to a leopard, who had devoured the other predator.

The world renown predator expert and researcher Flip Stander had found during his four years of research in the then Bushmanland, todays Naye Naye communal conservancy with the help of the local Ju/hoansi over 240 prey animals of leopards. On only two occasions these were cheetahs. With the help of the Ju/Hoansi, who can read spoors like an open book, Stander was able to reconstruct one of the hunts of one of the spotted cats.

Two cheetahs, a male and female, possible siblings, were walking through the bush observed by a leopard. When the two doglike spotted predators were close enough, the leopard darted towards them, singling out the bigger male, grabbing it and tightening its teeth around the throat. A few minutes later the cheetah was killed, having suffocated. The leopard takes a while to recover from the exhausting hunt and then started to feed. Once he had enough he hid his kill under a bush, which he covered with dry leaves and other vegetation. Early evening the next day he is back and devours more of the meat, bones and skin of the unfortunate cheetah. The same happens on the third and fourth day after the successful attack on the best sprinter in the world of mammals. After four days only a thighbone and the jaws with the teeth of the cheetah are left.

In other countries like Tanzania, reports show that there too leopards have killed cheetahs. Last year in November tourists photographed a leopard high up in an acacia tree with his kill, a cheetah on a branch before him.

The farmer and hunting guide Helmut Halenke, a few years back, found a leopard in the commercial conservancy Namatanga east of Windhoek. The leopard had been killed by another leopard presumably in a fight. The leopard then ate up his fellow predator. He had killed his dead opponent a few hundred meters away and had dragged him to the foot of a mountain. Although the skeleton was still intact some meat and most of the skin left and a warthog put up as lure, the leopard did not come back. 

Dirk Heinrich

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