Fluffy cubs might be supposed to look like aggressive honey badgers
As cheetah cubs are often left alone by their mother, it’s advantageous to deter nearby carnivores from approaching the vulnerable young. Young cheetahs grow up with a light grey saddle on their backs and dark fur on their legs. This colouration closely resembles one of Africa’s most fearless predators.
The honey badger attacks ferociously when surprised by a predator, and even if it is caught its loose skin allows it to twist around and bite its assailant, often a lion.
Most mimicry in the animal kingdom covers looks and behaviour to make the act more convincing, but cheetah copycats end with the physical resemblance, as cubs don’t behave like honey badgers one bit. Cubs hang out in groups, whereas the badgers are solitary, and unlike cheetahs they are also (mostly) nocturnal. This means the mimicry is fairly weak, and some scientists believe the similarity to be coincidental.