Cheetah’s Maternal Deception: Young Gazelles Fooled by Predator in Heart-Wrenching Encounter

Wildlife photographer Federico Veronesi captured a poignant moment in the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, where a series of photos revealed a heart-wrenching encounter between a young gazelle and an adult female cheetah.

As the tiny gazelles approached the cheetah just moments after birth, the scene appeared tender but soon turned tragic.

Watch the video at the end.


The cheetah, known for its remarkable speed and grace, initially seemed to mistake the young gazelle for its offspring.

Engaging in loving gestures such as nuzzling and rubbing its head, the cheetah momentarily displayed maternal instincts, seemingly unaware of the impending danger.

However, the fleeting distraction of maternal love proved fatal for the unsuspecting gazelle. As it attempted to flee, the cheetah swiftly shifted from affection to aggression, its hunting instincts triggered by the sight of prey in motion.


With a fatal bite, the cheetah ended the young gazelle’s life, a stark reminder of the harsh realities of the wild.

Cheetahs, scientifically known as Acinonyx jubatus, belong to the Big Cat family and are renowned as the fastest land mammals, capable of sprinting up to 112 kilometers per hour.

With their aerodynamic body structure comprising long legs and a flexible spine, cheetahs are formidable predators in the African savannah.


Cheetahs typically prey on small to medium-sized animals such as antelopes, rabbits, wild boar, and birds and exhibit hunting behaviors primarily during dawn and dusk.

They spend considerable time stalking their prey before initiating a chase, often concealing the carcass afterward to avoid attracting scavengers and competing predators.

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