Cheetahs on Prowl - De Wildt Cheetah Center, Brits, South Africa

One of the animals that we weren't able to see in the wild on our safari in South Africa were cheetahs. Fortunately, we had taken a side trip from Johannesburg to the De Wildt Cheetah & Wildlife Trust before our safari started. The facility is a captive cheetah breeding center that was started by Ann van Dyk in 1971 on her parents chicken farm. Other animals are also bred there, including wild dogs, brown hyenas, suni, duiker, cape vultures and riverine rabbits. On the tour through the center, we were able to photograph the cheetahs that live there. These two cheetahs were on the prowl waiting to be fed.

Cheetahs and leopards are often confused. Cheetahs have black oval spots, while leopards have more complex spotting that are shaped more like roses both square and round in shape. Cheetahs also have black lines that run from the corner of their eyes down the sides of their nose to their mouth while leopards do not. Leopards are also noticeably bulkier looking than cheetahs. Cheetahs can run up to 75mph over short distances allowing them to catch their prey, while leopards use more surprise attacks. Regardless, both are extremely majestic and are amazing to observe and photograph.