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Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) Fact Sheet: Diet & Feeding

Diet & Feeding

Ungulates compose much of the diet

  • Prey percentage depends on geographic location (summarized in Appendix 3 of Caro 1994)
    • East Africa
      • Thomson’s gazelle 22%
      • Grant’s gazelle 21.4%
      • Impala 15.6%
      • Hare, oribi, wildebeest, hartebeest, less than 4% each
    • Nairobi National Park
      • Thomson’s gazelle 9.4-21.9%
      • Grant’s gazelle 17.0-24.6%
      • Impala 27.4-35.8%
      • Coke’s hartebeest 9.4-12%
      • Warthog 7.5-2.2%
    • Masai Mara
      • Thomson’s gazelle 41.7%
      • Impala 32.3%
      • Wildebeest 12.5%
      • Topi 5.2%
    • Serengeti
      • Thomson’s gazelle 56.0-89.0%
      • Grant’s gazelle 2.2-9.3%
      • Wildebeest 26.0-9%
    • Kalahari
      • Springbok 86.9%
      • Wildebeest 3.5%
      • Ostrich 3.5%
    • Kafue National Park
      • Puku 45.5%
      • Reedbuck 12.1%
      • Lichenstein’s hartebeest 9.1%
    • Transvaal
      • Impala 85.1%
      • Greater kudu 8.5%
      • Wildebeest 6.4%
    • Kruger National Park
      • Impala 65.0%
      • Greater kudu 6.8%
      • Waterbuck 6.7%

Feeding

  • Feeding strategy
    • Cuts open prey’s abdomen with teeth
    • Consumes large muscle groups on prey’s limbs, back and neck first
    • Usually do not eat skin or bone
    • May squeeze out contents of intestine before consuming
    • Usually don’t return to kills, although mother with cubs may cover kill with earth or grass and return with cubs
      • May remain near large kills
  • Amount of food consumed
    • Can eat 14 kg (30.9 lbs) at one sitting
    • A group of 4 cheetah can finish an impala in 15 minutes
    • An adult, non-reproducing cheetah in managed care eats on average 1.3 kg (2.9 lbs) food/day
      • c. 1800 kcal/day

 

Page Citations

Caro (1994)
Dierenfeld (1993)
Wildt et al (1994)

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