Baffled young cheetahs don’t know what to make of huge tortoise

Baffled young cheetahs don’t know what to make of huge tortoise as they circle and peer into the shell – and the reptile stays safely tucked up inside

  • Cubs Skyler and Zahra approach tortoise at Running Wild Conversation centre
  • Cheetahs then circle mystery creature, in South Africa, as it hides inside shell
  • The curious pair are on an outing as part of a reintroduction to the wild process

This is the adorable moment two baffled cheetah cubs don’t know what to make of a giant tortoise when they meet the creature for the first time in South Africa.

Footage captures the young cheetahs, Skyler and Zahra, as they approach the mystery creature at the Running Wild Conservation centre.

The pair are on an outing as part of their reintroduction to the wild process when they stumble across the reptile.

A young cheetah approaches a giant tortoise at the Running Wild Conservation centre in South Africa

The tortoise, which remains safely inside its shell throughout the clip, is sat by a small track road when Skyler and Zahra approach.

One of the pair quickly trots over to the reptile, cautiously circling the tortoise.

But the curious animal stays away for a moment longer before bravely stepping towards the mystery creature.

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It then bends down to give the tortoise a good sniff before jumping back in fear.

A second cheetah soon joins the first – and the pair spend the next few moments investigating the newfound animal.

Elizke Gouws, founder and director at Running Wild Conservation, said the reaction was expected as this was the pair’s first encounter with such a strange animal.

The cheetah, who is on an outing as part of its reintroduction to the wild process, sniffs at the creature after circling it for a moment

Ms Gouws said: ‘Cheetahs are usually shy animals and don’t interact with other species.

‘They are flight not fight animals and mostly avoid contact with any potentially dangerous animals such as lions or hyenas.

‘This trait needs to be learned from the mother, so the cubs tend to be more curious.’

She added: ‘Like most cubs, cheetah cubs are very playful.

‘Later as they mature female cheetahs become solitary cats, but the males tend to form coalitions of up to six cheetahs.’ 

It is then joined by another cheetah cub – and the pair investigate the tortoise further as the reptile hides inside its shell

Ms Gouws said Running Wild Conservation is the only cheetah breeding facility in the world that breeds the animals for the sole purpose of reintroducing them into protected wild areas.

She said: ‘Our goal is to ensure the survival of the Southern African cheetah for future generations.

‘We are a nonprofit organisation and depend strongly on donations to continue our ground-breaking conservation efforts.

‘We are not open for public tours or interactions, we do not remove cubs from their mothers and we also do not sell any animals, they are all meant to return to the protected wild where possible.’

The project currently takes care of nine cheetahs, three rescue lion cubs, African wildcats, caracals, servals, an albino porcupine, and meerkats.

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