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Kate Arthur

Guest contributor

After a few years of working in the world of economic consulting, Kate’s love of adventure, wilderness and sense of curiosity led her to move away from the city and join the Londolozi guiding team. It was amidst her years of studying politics, ...

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on Cheetah, Leopards and Other Big Cats – What’s The Difference?

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Cheetahs are such spectacular animals and different from the other big cats, which which makes viewing them all the more special. To be close enough to gaze into their exquisite amber eyes, is a totally different feeling than viewing lions’ or leopards’ eyes. It’s inexplainable but soul piercing. Thanks for the information regarding how they see – I knew they were day hunters but didn’t know about how the eyes’ cones worked in their favor. One of my favorite experiences was spending one on one time with a youngish cheetah in a private reserve, sitting next to him whilst listening to him purr as I was scratching his ears! Truly magical.

Absolutely Denise, “soul piercing” is a great way to describe it. Thank you very much, and thank you for sharing!

Great post Kate,
So excited to see your post – clearly you guys are doing an amazing job and having a wonderful experience at the same time!! Just back from the Masai Mara – char soon


Thank you very much Howard. We really are loving every minute of every day – it keeps getting better! Cannot wait to hear all about your trip to the Mara – I am sure it was an unbelievable trip!

Cheetahs are so very special. Gorgeous looking, sleek and lithe and can they run. !!!

They sure can! They are remarkable animals.

Fascinating blog about Cheetah’s. Thanks for the information Kate.

Thank you very much William.

Heard a mother cheetah “purr” to summon her 2 cubs to finish the kill of an impala which occured 15 meters from our vehicle. The chase to bring down the impala was incredible–the cheetah exploded into full stride immediately.

Amazing Vin, that must have been an incredible sighting to experience! Thank you for sharing.

I find cheetah to be other-worldly, almost ghostly. We saw one male on our latest trip a month ago who was chill, in the shade of a spike thorn.

They are very unique in their own right. You’re very lucky to have seen him!

Thanks for the amazing photos and the interesting article, Kate

Thank you Christa. I am glad you enjoyed this read!

Senior Digital Ranger

Beautiful pictures of Cheetah’s.

Thank you Sandra!

Thank you for this detailed and accurate repetition lesson on biology of big and small cats, cheetah in particular. We’ve always thought they are more similar to smaller cats like caracal or serval… they are all great nature’s masterwork! Cheetah have a softer look that makes them appear irresistible, and, when in full screen shot , oftentimes unbeaten in the pictures definitive choice! No wonder they won’t compete to other predators, the feeling of awe comes when thinking of their presence and adaptation among so many dangerous competitors …

Thank you very much, Francesca. I am glad you enjoyed the read. Agreed – although they are still incredibly powerful and strong predators in their own right, they have had to evolve to live coherently with other predators in this environment.

Interesting about their broader vision, but makes perfect sense. After being an avid blog reader for years now, and therefore much more familiar with their spot and rosette patterns, I find myself so frustrated anytime I see a patterns mislabeled as cheetah or leopard, when it’s the opposite cat. Then I remind myself most Americans don’t look a these animals everyday, so it would be harder for them to remember that one is spotted and the other isn’t… 🤓

Thanks Chelsea. For someone who is familiar with our wildlife, there are many differences in appearance. However, it is understandable that from a distance or for someone who’s visiting for the first time, they appear more similar than we think (I love the cover image for this blog as we very seldomly get to see both cats in the same sighting so it’s a great image to highlight the comparison between cats).

Lovely to learn more about Cheetahs and stunning pictures as well – that black and white is gorgeous!

Thank you very much Kara!

Kate your blog on the Cheetah is outstanding, thanks for all the information about the Cheetah. They are truly phenomenal cats. Special in their own right and speedster of all the cats.

Thank you very much, Valmai! Agreed – so unique.

Great information about cheetahs!

Aren’t cheetahs the only member of the cat family to have non-retractable claws?

Cheetahs were my first favorite wild feline. Now they are neck ‘n neck with the glorious mysterious leopard. But no matter, when you see a cheetah in full on sprint to hunt they are a sight to behold!

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