Cheetah Food Chain

Cheetahs
photo copyright World Resources Institute Staff and published under a creative commons license.

The Cheetah food chain is a short one, on the face of it. But before I mention it we must remind ourselves that the Cheetah is an endangered species. The Cheetah habitat has shrunk severely over many years and in the area where there are the most Cheetahs (Namibia) she is hunted and killed by farmers because she is forced to live on farmland. The situation is terribly dysfunctional.




Food Chains
The term "food chain" indicates a straight line transfer of fuel (biomass) from one animal to another in the form of a chain of events, usually the eating of one animal by another until the top predator is arrived at. Perhaps a more accurate depiction of the events is in the form of a network (food network) as there is in fact more going on that is at first apparent in part because consumers will consume from various sources forming an interconnected network of events.

A food chain starts with a primary producer and usually ends with the top carnivore.

Cheetah Food Chain
The Cheetah hunts and eats small to medium sized mammals such as gazelles, springbok and impala. The Cheetah will also catch and eat young zebra and wildebeest. See what cheetahs eat.

Although the Cheetah is "outranked" by all other large predators in his habitat, he has no predators (equal top of the chain) because of his speed. A Cheetah relies on speed to survive so will avoid injury. Injury in a fight wold result in the Cheetah losing the one advantage he has over all other large predators and so would make survival far more perilous. This is why the Cheetah gives up his kill to scavenging predators that he could possibly see off. It's risk/reward formula. It is more sensible in survival terms to give up the kill and kill again.

Gazelles eat coarse plants and leaves that are easy to digest. Plants and leaves are primary producers. They are able to make their own food from sunlight using the process of photosynthesis.

The Cheetah food chain starts with the primary energy source - sunlight. Here is a rather crude diagram depicting it (free to use):



Cheetah Food Chain to Cheetah habitat

Comments

  1. this helped me alot

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  2. You should really put a picture of a food chain on their somewhere.

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    1. I agree, I should have. I'll try and add one.

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. I don't know how to comment so I am commenting here . Can you make it more of the food chain rather than what a food chain is?

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  5. I think you should have put a more detailed food chain picture. And also more food chains, less teaching what a food chain is. I wish you had included the Cheetah's predators over the Cheetahs. Like Lions, Leopards, and Hyenas.

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    1. Yes, I could have made it more detailed but I chose to keep it quite simple to try and explain the concept of a food chain. It is targetted at kids mainly. I might add an alternative version. Thanks for commenting.

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    2. Added point is that cheetahs are “apex predators”, meaning they are at the top of their food chain. I am not sure that it would have been helpful to add other predators who kill cheetah cubs.

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