Hugs and Kisses
These two cheetah cubs, at Lake Ndutu, Tanzania, spent most of an entire morning romping about and chasing each other. We spent 3 hours with this family, which consisted of a mother, her 3 cubs, and a younger cub that the mother had "adopted" from an older daughter. The survival rate of Cheetah cubs in the wild can be as low as 5%, and an experienced mother knows that the more cubs she has in her litter, the more likely it is that they will survive. Of course she put the survival of her daughter's cubs at risk in the process. These big babies are closing in on 18 months of age, which is the normal time that Cheetahs leave the comfort and safety of mom. Cheetahs kill most of their prey by strangling it, and though this bite looks playful and sweet, it's an important survival skill. Territorial Cheetah males sometimes kill their own kind if one happens into another's territory. For now, however, these siblings shared hugs and kisses in the cool morning weather.