Their prey is varied
The African savannah boasts an immense array of animals, and the cheetah takes advantage of this. All big cats are strict carnivores, and cheetahs enjoy a wide variety of prey rather than specialising in a small handful of species.
Cheetahs favour medium-sized ungulates such as Thomson’s gazelle, but they will feast on animals as large as giraffes if they are desperate. A single kick from these loping vegetarians could kill a cheetah, so targeting less dangerous prey is the preferred approach.
A cheetah’s dietary demands support a level of activity that is remarkably similar to an average human burning 2,000 calories on a daily basis. Cheetahs typically eat around 2.8 kilograms (6.2 pounds) of meat every day, which is the equivalent of ten chicken breasts. These big cats have been observed eating ten kilograms (22 pounds) in a single sitting, which equates to seven rotisserie chickens one after another!
Only fresh meat is acceptable to a cheetah, so the carnivore gorges itself as quickly as possible before another predator can swoop in to scavenge. The carcass is abandoned once the cheetah has stopped eating and a fresh kill is made the next day.
The cheetah is designed to pull down prey many times larger than itself, but small or vulnerable animals make for an easier hunt