Are cheetahs the most misunderstood animal of our time? Their image is used to personify fierceness and speed, but apparently it's all an act. Well, the speed part is real, of course, but in reality they're timid creatures, and they don't have much of a roar to speak of.
A video of a cheetah gently meowing, purring, and growling went viral recently, probably because no one could believe they had no idea what a cheetah sounded like before:
Yes, they're just big cats, but they sound like little cats. Don't get me wrong, I still wouldn't want to fight a cheetah, but that's pretty adorable.
And it's not just their tiny voices that prove they're different then we thought. A recent viral tweet brought up another little known cheetah fact: they're so nervous, some zoos give them emotional support dogs so they can chill out a bit:
I would be nervous if I were locked up in a zoo as well, but that's still so cute, as the replies showed:
An article from Thought Co. says that the dogs are for more than fun and games. They're a part of the captive breeding program at places like San Diego Zoo Safari Park. It's hard to breed when you're feeling uptight or scared, which is why dating is so hard. Same for animals
"A dominant dog is very helpful because cheetahs are quite shy instinctively, and you can't breed that out of them," explained animal training supervisor Janet Rose-Hinostroza. "When you pair them, the cheetah looks to the dog for cues and learns to model their behavior. It's about getting them to read that calm, happy-go-lucky vibe from the dog."
The introduction is very slow, with both animals on a leash and on opposite sides of a fence to start with. They have to wait for the cheetah to make the first move, but then the dog becomes the controlling partner. That makes sense, because otherwise the dog might transform from friend to food. Dogs also get to hang out with each other, usually during feeding time, so that they don't gobble up the cheetah's meal. The program has been going on since the 1980s, and has a very high success rate.
Cheetahs, I hardly knew ye.