Our good friend Gina posted pictures of her trip to the zoo this weekend, and she mentioned in a comment that the cheetah is her favorite animal of all time. So, Gina, this post is for you!
Last year for my birthday, my wife got us tickets to the Cheetah Run at the Wild Animal Park. This is a nice little not-inexpensive event where you basically get to watch a cheetah do a greyhound impersonation. You get on a truck that takes you into the secret depths of the park, where you find a nice little tent full of food and drinks and, since it takes place early in the morning, coffee. Mmmm, coffee.
Anyway, there is some eating and some drinking, and then everyone lines up alongside the straightaway where the cheetah is going to chase a stuffed bunny or piece of cloth or colorful plastic widget on a rope. (Various cheetahs perform the run, and each one likes to chase something different.) They warn you ahead of time that you’re not going to be able to get a picture of the cheetah when it runs by (because it’s so fast), but I didn’t pay them any mind because I have lightning-fast reflexes. See?
However, my wife managed to snap this photo of the big cat as it tore off after its stuffie. It’s a little blurry but considering how fast the cat was going, I think it’s pretty impressive.
The cheetah sounded almost like a horse when it went galloping by. This is one powerful animal! After the run, you can get your picture taken with the cheetah and its friend the fuzzy black dog. You will note, however, that they keep the dog between the visitor and the cheetah. This is probably just as well. That pixellated blob next to me is the famous Mrs. You’re-Not-Putting-My-Picture-On-Your-Blog.
A good time was had by all, except possibly the stuffie, which got dragged along the ground at something like 75 miles an hour before getting slammed into a box just inches ahead of cheetah claws. But I guess it’s still better off than the ones that Dennis gets hold of …