Cheetah or Leopard? Can you ‘spot’ the difference?

Published on 1 October 2023 at 00:35

On our last day in the Northern Serengeti, the boys are getting super sad to leave! Everyone at Lemala Kuria Hills is amazing and truly love the boys! Finn said he has to keep his Juma radar on because he is always sneaking up on the boys and tickling them! Godwell, the bartender, loved making special drinks everyday for the boys!

We had not seen a leopard or cheetah yet so Simel was determined to find them for us! We first saw the leopard, he was down in a gully. He then came out and started walking around the savannah. Simel pulled our car so close I’m pretty sure his tail brushed against our front bumper. The boys were in awe and being statues so the leopard didn’t see them. Once he took off, we decided to head to the Mara River to see if we could catch another crossing. Once we got to the river, we saw a small group of wildebeest near the river. The boys were happy to wait patiently to witness another crossing. 


Fortunately, Simel received some secret intel from a friend that a cheetah had been spotted after making a kill. We asked the boys, do you want to drive an hour to maybe see a cheetah or stay here and wait for the crossing? Both boys yelled ‘cheetah’!!!!!!!

We drove a long way and of course Nash fell asleep. Once we finally got to the spot, a couple of other vehicles were there too watching the cheetah. She was resting on a rock under a tree. We patiently waited and watched her. All the other vehicles decided to leave but Simel told us to stay, she might get up and walk around. Once everyone else left, she did! She walked down the hilly rocks and was trying to find some shade to rest. She was very shy and skittish towards us. Anytime we would come near her, she would jump up and run away. Simel told us that other predators would come and kill her for her prey. She is not as strong as the leopard or lion so she has to be careful. She hunts during the day while most other predators hunt at night. While the other predators are sleeping during the day, the beautiful cheetah hunts! So amazing to learn about these beautiful creatures. 

Leopards are completely solitary animals and drag their kill up a tree to protect it from other predators. Leopards have larger heads, are shorter and more muscular than cheetahs. 

Male cheetahs, especially brothers, will live together. Female cheetahs are always solitary except when mating. Cheetahs have smaller heads than leopards, longer legs and tales and slender bodies to help them run faster. Cheetahs are the fastest land animal and can run up to 75 miles per hour but can only sustain that speed for about 3/tenths of a mile. They rely on sneaking up on their prey and then catching it. Cheetahs are extremely illusive and are hunted by other predators. 
Finn's favorite animal is by far the cheetah! He as watched many documentaries about them and loved seeing them in real life!

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10 months ago

Once again, what a spectacular day. The boys seem to really be enjoying getting to know the local people as well. You guys are really opening up their minds and hearts.

Karen Mary Schaefer
10 months ago

The cheetah is my favorite big cat! I simply love them! But the leopard also has a very gorgeous coat!!