How to Survive a Cheetah Attack in 7 Steps

You’re on a safari in Namibia, Africa, where there are lots of cheetahs. You see one, but it doesn’t seem happy to see you. You feel nervous as the cheetah looks at you. This isn’t the fun experience you wanted. Here, we will talk about how to survive a cheetah attack.

Cheetahs are usually very shy. They’re so cautious that they don’t usually attack people. But you still need to be careful around them. Judy Burns was talking about cheetahs at a place in Florida when two cheetahs attacked her. Why did they attack? Judy thinks they were trying to get a soccer ball that a kid kicked, and she was just in the way. The cheetahs hurt her, but once she got help, she was fine. Now, back to you in the grasslands of Namibia. What sounds should you make? How can you protect yourself without hurting the cheetah, which is an endangered animal? And how do cheetahs usually catch their food?


How to Survive a Cheetah Attack

We’re moving into areas where big cats like cheetahs live. Cheetahs have lost a lot of their home—about 90% of it. As we build more roads and houses in their space, there’s a higher chance they might attack us. But our focus is on survival, so let’s get into it.

1. Take a Few Steps Backward

When you encounter a furious cheetah, back away slowly. If the cheetah makes eye contact with you, do not look away; it is too late. It would be better if no eye contact was made initially. Do not back off hastily. Of course, you are dealing with the land’s fastest here, so you can’t comfortably outrun an animal capable of 75 mph or 120 km/h. You’re not a gazelle. Do not be timid; be predatory because cheetahs fear attacking predators.


2. Try to Scare it off

If there’s nowhere safe to go, you need to make the cheetah think you’re not worth messing with. Make yourself look big and make noise—shout or clap your hands to survive a cheetah attack. You want the cheetah to see you as something big and scary. If the cheetah won’t back off, stand your ground and enlarge yourself as much as you can. You want to do what cats do: arch or raise your back to intimidate the cheetah. Make sure to also wave your arms fiercely and yell at it.

3. Use Sounds of Hyenas or Lions

Cheetahs often lose their young ones to predators like hyenas and lions—about 70% of their cubs. So, they usually avoid these animals. This is true for all cheetahs, no matter their age or gender. If you play the sounds of hyenas or lions, it can help scare the cheetahs away.

Don’t try to outrun it. It’s pretty clear why. Cheetahs are super fast, reaching speeds of 112 kilometers per hour. They can go from standing still to 72 kilometers per hour in just 2.5 seconds. They’re also really good at turning quickly, thanks to their big tails that help them balance. If you start running, the cheetah will chase you because that’s what they do. So, what you should do is move away slowly. Keep looking at the cheetah while you do this, which is different from what you’d do with other animals. Keep your eyes on it as you move to a safe place.

4. Scream for Help

If the cheetah won’t go away and there is no backup yet, yell for help again to draw attention from people nearby. When one or more people join the party, the cheetah will back off, except for a coalition of them (a group of cheetahs).


5. Stand Your Ground and Fight Back

If the cheetah is already on you, give it a fight. The average human can kill a cheetah, but that is not an easy feat without weapons. Yes, the cheetah is faster and perhaps stronger (depending on its age), but you can beat it.

When the cheetah tries to make contact, kick it hard on the chest. Depending on the impact of the strike, it might need a rethink before getting back at you.

Defend yourself to survive a cheetah attack. If the cheetah attacks even after you’ve tried the other steps, you have to fight back. But remember, cheetahs are endangered, so we don’t want to hurt them more than necessary. They’re important for keeping their species alive. Try to use things that won’t seriously hurt them, like pepper spray, or aim for non-lethal spots, like kicking their chest or punching their nose.

6. Strike the Cheetah with an Object

Use your weapon if you are armed and the big cat won’t go away, such as pepper spray. Stabbing should not be the first option because cheetahs are facing extinction due to human hunting, climate change, and habitat destruction. Nonetheless, if the cheetah is actively attacking you, killing it can be the final resort. The Darwinian theory of “Survival of the Fittest” justifies it.

If you have a knife, aim for the cheetah’s neck or eyes. If you are unarmed, aim your fingers at its eyes or give it a powerful punch in the face.

7. Play Dead

If you can’t fight to survive a cheetah attack or you’re on the ground, curl up and act like you’re dead. Stay still and quiet. The cheetah doesn’t want to eat you, so if it thinks it has won, it might leave you alone. Just remember to keep your neck safe. Like lions and leopards, cheetahs go for the neck to kill their prey.

While on the ground, do not take your hands off your neck. Cheetahs are intelligent hunters and are known to clamp on the neck of their prey with their powerful jaws, causing them to suffocate.

Playing dead will not work if the cheetah is in full attack and protecting its cubs. Hunger is not what drives a cheetah to protect its cubs. It gets personal and emotional and wants to destroy you to save the litter.

Recovering from Cheetah Attack

1. Clean the Wounded Part of Your Body

If you are wounded during the battle, you will feel weak, lightheaded, and dizzy. You may also pass out because of blood loss. Unless the cheetah is actively attacking, do not move. If you have a cheetah’s tooth in your body, get rid of it. Rinse the wound gently with a solution of water to reduce the risk of bacterial infection. If the cut is deep, apply an antibacterial agent.

2. Apply Pressure on the Wound

Before you apply pressure on the wound, clean your hands. Use water if possible. Use the vinyl medical gloves in your first aid kit, if any. Otherwise, use a clean plastic bag to prevent an infection. Using your hand should be the last resort if there is no medical glove or plastic bag. Apply pressure on the wound for at least 10 minutes. You may time yourself with your mobile clock or wristwatch.

3. Apply pressure with Another Cloth

Depending on the severity of the wound, you may have to use another cloth if blood soaks the first. Wait for at least 10 minutes and remove the cloth to check if the blood flow has reduced enough for adding a bandage. Cover the wound with a clean bandage. You can use a clean cloth if there’s no bandage. Just keep the pressure firmly on the wounded part.

4. Seek Medical Attention

The safety team would have arrived before the cheetah attack escalates to injury requiring medical attention. However, you may still need to contact your doctor. It’s unlikely that the attack will require surgery, and your doctor would not have to prescribe an antibiotic or perform bloodwork to find an infection. Nonetheless, an X-ray might be necessary to check for broken bones.

5. Follow up with Your Doctor

If a rabid cheetah bites you, there is no way to tell whether the cheetah transmitted rabies to you. For this reason, if your doctor thinks there is a chance that you are exposed to rabies, treatment will be made to prevent the virus from infecting your body. In extreme situations, the doctor may have to kill the cheetah to examine its brain for rabies if its immunization status is unknown. If a rabid cheetah bites you, the virus travels to the brain, and the time between exposure and symptoms is known as the incubation period. The first symptoms are similar to those of the flu and include weakness, fever, or headache. The symptoms last for days.

Final Thoughts

Always follow your guide’s instructions because your safety is their priority. When on a walking tour, stick to your guide and touring members. Cheetahs will not attack you as a group because they are outnumbered. Unless the guide confirms it is okay to go closer to the cheetah, maintain your distance, and never wander off the trail.

Cheetahs are amazing to look at, but it’s safer to watch them from a distance. You’re more likely to get attacked by a cougar or a tiger than by a cheetah.

Read Also: Tips to Sneak Up on Your Cat

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