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Cheetahs Can't Climb Trees 2

Cheetahs Can't Climb Trees 2
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2002-12-22
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon EOS 1vHS, Canon EF 300mm f2.8 USM IS, Fuji Provia 100
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): BEST OF: Cheetahs 1, TN Favourites [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-11-30 8:09
Viewed: 15970
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 58
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The literature all says that cheetahs cannot climb trees as they cannot fully retract their claws - thid maked thier claws ubsuitable for climbing as they are blunt. No-one had told this cheetah and his brother (see earlier posting) - they had climbed into an acacia to scan the area for prey.

This is a scanned slide.

The cheetah has a slender, long-legged body with blunt semi-retractable claws. Its chest is deep and its waist is narrow. The coarse, short fur of the cheetah is tan with round black spots measuring from 2 to 3 cm ( to 1 inches) across, affording it some camouflage while hunting. There are no spots on its white underside, but the tail has spots, which merge to form four to six dark rings at the end. The tail usually ends in a bushy white tuft. The cheetah has a small head with high-set eyes. Black "tear marks" run from the corner of its eyes down the sides of the nose to its mouth to keep sunlight out of its eyes and to aid in hunting and seeing long distances.

The adult animal weighs from 40 to 65 kg (90 to 140 lb). Its total body length is from 115 to 135 cm (45 in to 55 in), while the tail can measure up to 84 cm (33 in) in length. Males tend to be slightly larger than females and have slightly bigger heads, but there is not a great variation in cheetah sizes and it is difficult to tell males and females apart by appearance alone. Compared to a similarly-sized leopard, the cheetah is generally shorter-bodied, but is longer tailed and taller (it averages about 90 cm or 36 in tall) and so it appears more streamlined.

Some cheetahs also have a rare fur pattern mutation: cheetahs with larger, blotchy, merged spots are known as 'king cheetahs'. It was once thought to be a separate subspecies, but it is merely a mutation of the African cheetah. The 'king cheetah' has only been seen in the wild a handful of times, but it has been bred in captivity.

The cheetah's paws have semi-retractable claws (known only in three other cat species - the Fishing Cat, the Flat-headed Cat and the Iriomote Cat) offering the cat extra grip in its high-speed pursuits. The ligament structure of the cheetah's claws is the same as those of other cats; it simply lacks the sheath of skin and fur present in other varieties, and therefore the claws are always visible, with the exception of the dewclaw. The dewclaw itself is much shorter and straighter than other cats.

Adaptations that enable the cheetah to run as fast as it does include large nostrils that allow for increased oxygen intake, and an enlarged heart and lungs that work together to circulate oxygen efficiently. During a typical chase its respiratory rate increases from 60 to 150 breaths per minute[6]. While running, in addition to having good traction due to its semi-retractable claws, the cheetah uses its tail as a rudder-like means of steering to allow it to make sharp turns, necessary to outflank prey who often make such turns to escape.

Unlike "true" big cats, the cheetah can purr as it inhales, but cannot roar. By contrast, the big cats can roar but cannot purr, except while exhaling. However, the cheetah is still considered by some to be the smallest of the big cats. While it is often mistaken for the leopard, the cheetah does have distinguishing features, such as the aforementioned long "tear-streak" lines that run from the corners of its eyes to its mouth. The body frame of the cheetah is also very different from that of the leopard, most notably so in its thinner and longer tail, and unlike the leopard, its spots are not arranged into rosettes.

The cheetah is a vulnerable species. Out of all the big cats, it is the least able to adapt to new environments. It has always proved difficult to breed in captivity, although recently a few zoos have been successful. Once widely hunted for its fur, the cheetah now suffers more from the loss of both habitat and prey.

The cheetah was formerly considered to be particularly primitive among the cats and to have evolved approximately 18 million years ago. New research, however puts the last common ancestor of all 40 existing species of feline more recently, at 11 million years. The same research indicates that the cheetah, while highly derived morphologically, is not a particularly ancient lineage, having separated from its closest living relatives (the cougar Puma concolor and the jaguarundi Puma yaguarondi) around 5 million years ago.

The cheetah is a carnivore, eating mostly mammals under 40 kg (90 lb), including Thomson's gazelle, Grant's gazelle, the Springbok antelope and the impala. The young of larger mammals such as wildebeests and zebras are taken at times, adults too, when the cats hunt in groups. Guineafowl and hares are also prey. While the other big cats mainly hunt by night, the cheetah is a diurnal hunter. It hunts usually either early in the morning or later in the evening when it is not so hot, but there is still enough light - theCheetah hunts by vision rather than by scent. Prey is stalked to within 10-30 m (30-100 ft), then chased. This is usually over in less than a minute, and if the cheetah fails to make a catch quickly, it will give up. The cheetah has an average hunting success rate of around 50% - half of its chases result in failure.

Running at high speeds puts a great deal of strain on the cheetah's body. When sprinting, the cheetah's body temperature becomes so high that it would be deadly to continue - this is why the cheetah is often seen resting after it has caught its prey. While resting the cheetah risks a 50% chance of losing its catch to other predators, such as the lion, the leopard, the spotted hyena and baboons.

eqshannon, lovenature, SelenE, Adam73, cataclysta, nglen, gracious, Royaldevon, Adanac, bobair, ramthakur, haraprasan, Alex99, angybone, uleko, fiftysomething, mlines has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi James
I guess there are always exceptions to the rule. Your Cheetah is well captured up the tree. I like the way the light is coming from behind as it accentuates his fur and lanky outline. Nicely framed.
TFS Janice

Wow...what a sleek animal. And quite adapted to it's native environment. Interesting and somewhat cute note that it supposedly doesn't climb. I have found anomalies from nature to textbook sometimes. Very interesting observation.
*Question...What do you scan your slides with. I have a high end slide scanner but it doesn't do the job yours does..

hello james,
lovely shot, liked the pov and the composition, you got a lovely pose here, beautiful colours,
well done,
tfs & regards

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2007-11-30 8:47]

Hi James,
Great pose of this beautiful cat. Good timing! TFS
Have a nice wekend

selam james; yes they can climb to tree as you show here.Excellent shot of this cheetah.Nice composition.Good POV and sharp image whit nice details.splendid Colors. well done.
TFS ridvan

Amazing framing and for some reason I love that beautiful tail and this image shows the Cheetahs bueaty. Great shot.

beautiful pic, great composition, TFS Ori

Great shot. The composition is very good.
I like it.



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  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-11-30 10:46]

Wow! A cheetah up a tree!
Great shot of this unusual sighting.
Good quality as usual.
Superb composition.
Well done James.
Cheers mate,

Hi James
Perfect composition with head, tail and tree :-) Fantastic moment another great place to your collection. Also as always good note
I like it very much

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  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-11-30 12:10]

Hello James

I had a declawed house cat that could climb really well.They grip the tree with there strong toes I guess.LOL
What a lovely shot of this cheetah.
The focus is very good with wonderful details.
Nicely composed in the frame.


This is a beautiful capture of this majestic and impressive animal James. I would have been much impressed being at your place. I like this POV and composition a lot, details and exposure are superb. Well seen with great notes as usual :) Thanks,

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  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-11-30 13:15]

Hi James. It may be 5 years old but its a great shot of the Cheetah. such a fine animal. you have capture a fine pose in the tree with it looking out . what a long tail it has. well done TFS. great notes to go with the shot.

Hello James,
A Cheetah on the tree!
excellent composition on this perfect sharpness shot!
even the texture of the tree can be clearly seen!
thanks for the wonderful notes!

p/s how many days can afford in Auckland?

It is good to be able to show exceptions to rules! Well noted, James!

This is a beautiful capture! The cheetah is sharp and the details of his coat and eyes are good! He looks as if he is pretending to be part of the tree! If he did not move, he would probably be difficult to see!

Kind regards,
Bev :-)

Many thanks for your comments on 'Pretty and Healthy'.

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  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2007-11-30 16:51]

Hello James,
What an amazing composition with the cheetah in the crotch of this beautiful acacia. They say the same thing about grizzlies but if you try to out climb one you better me willing to go to heights where the branches won't hold thier weight. This image has great sharpness and lovely backlighting, thanks James.

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  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2007-11-30 19:20]

Haaaa ! What a great shot, that's a super moment in that beautiful composition. Sharp, great exposure and textures ! Well done !


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  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2007-11-30 22:04]

Hello James,
I don't have much time today, only to make a quick point
You got a fantastic shot, wonderful presentation.. Well
done my friend..


What a magnificent cat you have captured in Kenya, James!
Its elegant posture up there in the tree speaks volumes about its power and majestic beauty.
I think I did see some documentary on Animal Planet in which a Cheetah is shown climbing a tree.
Very informative note as usual.
TFS and regards.

Hi James,
A beautiful capture of this blazingly fast big cat. Very nicely composed with excellent details and a lovely POV. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Did you see him in the tree? or climbing the tree as well?
How high was that?
Could he have jumped there instead of climbing?
Very interesting to see him in a tree anyway. Sure an excellent pic. Also outstanding quality.

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  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-12-01 5:54]

Hello, James.
It is not enough to tell, that this my the most favourite animal from childhood. And you have pictured it at so wonderful scenery. The impressiveness of the tree is unlimited. Pose and glance of the animal. its charming tail are great. Clearness of the colours, transparency of the image, excellent details and sharpness, natural colours are fantastic and so pleasant to eye. Composition is superb too as well as the skill framing and POV. MY compliments and thanks.

ha ha ha I love that!
Awesome photo! Beautiful creature, well composed with lovely curves in the tree. This is a wonderful shot!

Beauty - I like how you recognized that the Cheetahs trademark tear stains are mimiced by the tree limbs. The left side tear stain is in perfect symetry with the middle tree limb. Way to go, what an eye. Thanks ery much for this lesson on how to look for symetry.

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  • Debz Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 505 W: 0 N: 847] (3307)
  • [2007-12-02 3:26]

Hi James, this is a magnificent shot in every way and you have make a beautiful composition. The pov of the Cheetah is caught in a wonderful pov with the long tail trailing down the tree. The textures and natural colour on the tree are perfect. The Cheetah perfectly sharp with great light and colours. Stunning prize winner.

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  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-12-02 9:32]

Hello James,
I very much like this composition and the Cheetah is such a lovely animal! Excellent sharp details and I love that long tail! Great back lighting and fine colours. Well done!
Many thanks, Ulla

A really different composition - nice one.

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  • mlines Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 556 W: 26 N: 668] (3116)
  • [2007-12-29 20:32]

Hi Jame, I like the photo and the notes also. The timing was good as the cheetah is looking around towards you.Clarity and colours are excellent. TFS. Murray.

hi james very nice shot you doing very hard &very good work . tanks

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