Monday 30 October 2023

Cheetah meow is part of their rich vocal repertoire

Cheetahs have a rich vocal repertoire. And before I go any further, I'm going to stress the fact that it includes a meow which is very like that of the domestic cat. It's a bit louder and a little bit wilder but unmistakably a genuine meow, which doesn't surprise me one bit because this large wild cat species really does have some domestic cat traits. 

Cheetah meow is part of their rich vocal repertoire
Captive cheetah meowing. Screenshot.

I've just seen a picture of a cheetah cosying up to a photographer. In the photo the cheetah has a GPS collar around their neck and it's in the wild but they decided that they would like to have a bit of human company. They can be like that sometimes. 

It is why, hundreds of years ago, they were tamed to hunt with rich humans in India and other Asian countries for sport. They are therefore tameable and somewhat domesticatable but don't think that they make good pets because they do not.

My thanks to the TikToker 'renn' for the video below.

The cheetah also has a yelp which is a brief, high-pitched yow sounding vocalisation which can travel some distance. A scientist, Mr R McLaughlin, said that he heard the yelp 2 km away.

When the cheetah utters this sound, they open and close their mouth rapidly while their abdomen and head jerk with the effort.

It is a contact call normally made by the mother who has been separated from her cubs or by young cheetahs who have lost their mother or siblings. That information is according to Mr J Kingdon (1977).

Another contact call would be the churr. This sound is used by mothers to call or encourage their offspring and by male cheetahs to relocate their siblings or coalition partners and also in a variety of other circumstances according to Mr TM Caro (1994).

The churr is also called a "stutter". It can indicate that the female is in heat (oestrus) and when males use the stutter, they do so to indicate an interest in a female according to Mr TM Caro (1993).

The cheetah also gurgles. This is a friendly close-range vocalisation. That information, by the way, come from Mr G Peters (1984).

Further, cheetahs occasionally growl when involved in agonistic encounters at a kill. They also moan when they are attacked or threatened by other cheetahs, leopards or lions. That information comes from a variety of researchers/scientists including TM Caro mentioned above.

And finally, the cheetah purrs like a domestic cat during friend encounters and after a meal or when resting. Of course, the cheetah purr is much louder than that of the domestic cat.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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