Animal Diaries Archive
Cheetah Guest Walks
29 July 2005Our male cheetahs here at the Zoo didn't start leash training as early as is normal for our big cats. Generally we like to start leash work from around 6-8 weeks of age as this allows the cats to slowly become conditioned to a lead and to different areas of the Zoo. Unfortunately, the cheetah boys didn't arrive until they were six-and-a-half months old and they then needed to remain in quarantine for a further month. This meant that their leash training couldn't really begin until they were nearly eight months old.
The boys came over from DeWildts Cheetah Research Centre in South Africa. At DeWildts they were conditioned to walk on a lead, but also with a body harness. This meant that it was a little tricky to get the boys used to just wearing one leash here at the Zoo. Currently, the boys are going well walking around the Zoo, although they can get very fixated watching certain kangaroos or running children. This is all part of the process though and they are getting used to all of those unusual matters as time goes on.
Our two girls, Cleo and Sheeba, have been at the Zoo since they were three and a half months old. We were lucky enough to start their leash training straight away. They haven't been anywhere as challenging as where the boys have been on leash... yet! The girls are also very playful and often just want to run around and climb trees, dragging their handlers behind them.
Being able to walk the cheetahs (or any animal) on a lead is very enriching for them. They get to explore new areas and see new sights. Our big cats get really excited when they come across a new smell that another animal may have left there. This is something that we are unable to bring into their enclosure to them, so it's great that we have the opportunity to take them out.
Because the cheetahs' leash training is going so well, we are now offering a very special experience to you! Three days a week we offer a 'Cheeky Cheetah Experience'. You and up to three of your friends or family can come into the Zoo before hours and meet our cheetahs. Your encounter includes a half-hour walk with one or maybe two of our cheetahs. You can pat them and hang out with them. You may even get to hear one purr! And this is all captured by your very own Australia Zoo professional photographer. To enquire more about our 'Cheeky Cheetah Experience,' head to the Animal Encounters link on this website.
Until next time... Cheetahs rule!
Our Amazing Cheetahs
The cheetah has a slender, elongated body supported on tall, thin legs with blunt semi-retractable claws and a flattened rudder-like tail that measures half ...more
On display in Africa