We know that each zebra sports a unique pattern of stripes which are not even the same on both sides of the animal! I read recently that cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) also have unique coat patterns. Now, they are not as easy to come across in the wild as zebras are and are often very well camouflaged in the grass.

They are also often solitary – making any comparison difficult, so I am not surprised that I have not noticed this phenomenon.

To be fair, I see these animals so seldom that closely observing the coat pattern is the last thing on my mind – even if there happens to be more than one cheetah together.

Apparently cheetahs have about 2 000 round or oval spots measuring 20 to 40 mm in diameter. Not only do they each have a unique pattern of spots, but sport distinctive tail rings too. Most of the cheetahs I have seen have been partly obscured by grass, so I have not really seen much of their tails! This one is an exception.

Apart from the spots and tail rings, cheetah also have characteristic black tear markings which are thought to protect them against the glare of the sun and to help them focus attention on their prey.


26 thoughts on “INDIVIDUAL CHEETAH

    • The cheetah in the Mountain Zebra National Park are collared for tracking purposes so that their well-being can be carefully monitored.


  1. Striking markings on a cheetah, an animal I have not seen in a zoo. I was amazed at the tail rings, when its markings are otherwise spots, but also was amazed to see how tall it was with those long legs. I guess most pictures I’ve seen are in a crouching, ready-to-pounce position.


      • You’re right about that Anne. A fellow wildlife photographer is so against the idea of any type of zoo saying it is unnatural and cruel for any animal. He says he cringes when I write about Luc, the bald eagle who lives in a large wooden enclosure at Lake Erie Metropark. But this eagle has been rehabbed and cannot fly and is blind in one eye as a result of an accident, so it will never be releasable. Wayne is used to seeing his eagles who fly down to visit him near his boat. They are free but also healthy.

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