As the fastest animal on land, cheetahs need plenty of rest to perform at their best. But where do these wild cats go to get some shut eye? Like many other large predators, cheetahs sleep in places that offer both cover and visibility. Tall grasses are a favorite because they provide concealment and allow the cheetah to remain undetected by potential threats, while elevated areas such as termite mounds or gentle rises in the landscape act as vantage points that give the predator a clear view of its surroundings.
The location of a cheetah’s sleep spot is also determined by the needs of its young. Mother cheetahs are especially careful when selecting a place for their cubs to rest, opting for spots that offer optimal concealment in order to protect their vulnerable offspring from predators. Throughout the night, these mother cheetahs are on constant alert and will awaken in response to any rustle or unfamiliar sound.
In captivity, cheetahs follow similar sleeping patterns to those found in the wild and will sleep for most of the day. Recently, Dolph Volker – aka the Cheetah Whisperer – put this to the test when he bedded down with three of the big felines at the Cheetah Experience Breeding Center in Bloemfontein, South Africa. In the resulting video, Volker poses an age-old question: Do cheetahs prefer cold hard concrete or snuggling up with a human pal and some warm blankets?