Everything You Need to Know About Pet Cheetahs

Updated on March 16, 2018
Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa cares for a variety of exotic animals and has completed a certificate in veterinary assisting and a Bachelors Degree in Biology.

Looking for Information on Pet Cheetahs?

Two cheetah cubs play
Two cheetah cubs play | Source

If you're looking for information about about cheetahs as pets, you've come to the right place. In this article, learn the following about cheetahs as pets and more:

  • A brief history
  • Are cheetahs safe?
  • The problems with keeping and breeding cheetahs in captivity
  • Living with and caring for cheetahs
  • Where do people get cheetahs?
  • The ethics of pet cheetahs
  • The Schoeman family's Cheetah House
  • Alternatives to owning a cheetah
  • Volunteering opportunities to work with cheetahs

Are Cheetahs Kept as Pets?

 (CC BY 2.0) Joe Turco
(CC BY 2.0) Joe Turco

When the question “If you could have any pet in the world without consequence, what would it be?” is asked, a cheetah is a popular response. For many people, cheetahs exemplify grace, agility and, although unwarranted, ferocity. Therefore, it is not surprising that there are many who have interest in keeping these iconic animals as personal pets. However, this is rare in the US due to strict regulations and the difficult in importing cheetahs. More on this further down in the article.

The keeping of exotic pets is very controversial, largely due to ignorance—many are uninformed about what an exotic pet actually is. However, cheetahs by most definitions do qualify as exotic pets, even within their home range.

 Marchesa Casati with pet cheetah (1912) Picture: Courtesy of Ryersson and Yaccarino/The Casati Archives
Marchesa Casati with pet cheetah (1912) Picture: Courtesy of Ryersson and Yaccarino/The Casati Archives

A Brief History on Cheetahs as Pets

Cheetahs have never been domesticated, however they have been kept as pets for thousands of years.

  • They were often the companions of the rich and high profile. Historically, emperors, kings, and pharaohs kept them as a sign of wealth. Akbar, a Mughal ruler of the 16th century modern day India, was said to have owned 9,000 cheetahs over a 49-year period. In more modern times, not much has changed.
  • American celebrities like Phyllis Gordon and Josephine Baker (both pictured above) traveled with them back when regulations were looser.
  • They are also kept as pets by some of the rich in the United Arab Emirates.
  • Sometimes they are seen assisting hunters in African and Middle Eastern countries (although dogs perform this service just fine as well.)

Are Cheetahs Safe as Pets and in General?

Woman petting a docile cheetah in a reserve
Woman petting a docile cheetah in a reserve | Source

Cheetahs may be considered by some to be big cats, but viewing them as dangerous or violent is a huge misconception.

  • They are nowhere near as dangerous as lions, tigers, leopards, and all other animals in this category. Obviously, this will not apply if you are a small child or around the same size as one, it's better to err on the side of caution. Generally though, cheetahs are the least dangerous of the group.
  • Cheetahs are the only big cats that visitors allowed to have direct contact with in zoos without jeopardizing human life. At the very worst, keepers entering cheetah enclosures will arm themselves with very intimidating weaponry, such as brooms and rakes.
  • Cheetahs also typically flee if a human approaches them or makes direct eye contact, unlike other animals which may prepare to pounce instead.
  • Simply put, if you are an average-sized adult, cheetahs do not see you as prey. Lions have even been known to take down small elephants in groups, and tigers, which are solitary hunters, can take down large water buffalo by themselves.

What is the explanation for cheetahs being safer than other big cats? Well, cheetahs, unlike other big cats, are rather selective about the animals they hunt (such as small to medium-sized antelope species), and they kill their prey by tripping them and biting the neck. Cheetahs, which weigh around 100 pounds, do not possess the muscular bulk of other big cats and have smaller heads. They know their place in the predator hierarchy and do not 'bite off more than they can chew'. They never want to attack humans, unlike some dogs.

Therefore, fears of cheetahs being dangerous beyond any other similar-sized animal with teeth are overblown, but there are other issues with cheetah ownership to be discussed below.

The Issue With Captive Cheetahs

While cheetahs live on average about 8 years in the wild, 17 years is not uncommon in captivity. However, although there has been increasing success, there's an issue with this in that cheetahs breed very poorly in captivity. Hence, this is why they are uncommon. Cheetahs are also sometimes poached in the wild to provide babies for the pet trade.

Only around 44% of zoological facilities attempting to breed the animals have succeeded, with only 20% of captive-bred and 15% wild-caught cheetahs reproducing. Infant mortality is around 37 percent due to low sperm count and other abnormalities which result from varying factors of insufficient husbandry standards. Read on to learn about the reasons for this.

Why It's Hard to Breed Cheetahs in Captivity

  1. They need space. Facilities that have been the most successful in breeding cheetahs provide at least one hectare per animal group, or 2.5 acres (the size of a standard American football field is approximately 1.3 acres.) Small enclosures have been shown to be linked to lower male fertility and hampered breeding success.
  2. Specific social structures must be adhered to. Cheetahs aren't like tigers, which breed very well in captivity and even do so in the wild despite their endangered status. Breeding these naturally solitary animals requires sufficient knowledge of the mechanisms that entice them to breed. In order to encourage cheetah breeding, males and females must be isolated from view of each other. Males are generally released into an enclosure where the female has been, and if he exhibits signs of wanting to breed, the female will then be introduced. This all of course requires many large enclosures, luck, and good animal sense to achieve.
  3. Nutrition. Cheetahs have very specific nutrition needs. They should be provided with the appropriate calcium:phosphorus ratios and other vitamins in their diet. Cheetahs that are removed for hand-rearing are especially prone to nutritional deficiencies. Poor nutrition of the mother cheetah will also affect the cubs that are receiving her colostrum. In addition, if other aspects of husbandry are not adequate, such stress may inhibit lactation, cause the mother to abandon her cubs, or even result in her cannibalizing them.
  4. Crowds stress cheetahs out. The traditional public zoo environment is noisy and often too stressful for successful breeding efforts.
  5. Low sperm count and inbreeding. Poor genetic representation of cheetahs results in a small portion of captive cheetahs that end up breeding successfully.

Example of a cheetah breeding enclosure at Leo Zoological Conservation Center. Copyright Melissa Smith. All Rights Reserved.
Example of a cheetah breeding enclosure at Leo Zoological Conservation Center. Copyright Melissa Smith. All Rights Reserved. | Source

Living With Cheetahs

  • If cheetahs survive cubhood, the adults still must be maintained on specific diets that address their nutritional needs or they will be at risk for malnourishment, which is a condition they often suffer from when they are removed from private homes. The diet should consist of a specially prepared carnivore diet and whole prey with supplementation (vitamins A, D, and E), including bones to prevent the occurrence of focal palatine erosion, calcium deficiency, and other dental problems that can become life threatening over time.
  • Just the same as other pets like dogs, they are in need of their own species specific stimulation and environmental enrichment. It has been shown that the welfare of cheetahs is enhanced if they can view their natural prey.
  • As one would expect, exercise is also important. While captive cheetahs often won't reach their top speed of 60mph in captivity due to a lack of conditioning, it is important to exercise them with short distance, quick-burst running. This can be accomplished with a mechanical lure.
  • Although cheetahs can seem tame, their care is not like that of a typical dog and cat. Wild cats can often be destructive in the home, and they are prone to urine spraying.

Where Do People Get Cheetahs?

Cheetahs are status symbols for the wealthy because they are expensive and often illegal to obtain.
Cheetahs are status symbols for the wealthy because they are expensive and often illegal to obtain.

Many people ask if it is possible to obtain a pet cheetah.

  • In the United States. Straight off the bat, if you are in the United States, forget about it. Cheetahs are rare in the U.S. and are not even so common in zoological facilities because they are hard to breed and are not imported easily. Furthermore, it is illegal to keep them as pets in the U.S.
  • Other countries. Private owners of cheetahs both legally and illegally obtained probably live in either the United Arab Emirates, some Western Asian countries where they can be purchased (and aren't illegal), or an African country where they can be found in the wild or bought at auctions.
  • Specifically in the United Arab Emirates. In the UAE, cheetah importation (along with other big cats and wildlife species) has recently been banned, due to illegal and ill-informed purchases of animals like these. This has often led to poor welfare and negligent abandonment of the cats. There are captive breeders of cheetahs in the UAE, but it is likely that most of them have originated from now illegal methods. Unfortunately, even if a breeder claims an animal was captive-bred, it might not be so. While buying captive-bred animals is legal, some owners take pride in obtaining cheetahs through illegal methods.


The Ethics of Keeping Cheetahs as Pets

It is not in the best interest of the species as a whole to keep cheetahs as pets, unfortunately. As described above, the extremely poor breeding success of these cats make them unsustainable as pets.

  • Animals that are not captive-bred are more than likely to have been obtained by immoral practices such as removal from the wild, which may result in the death of the mother.
  • The cubs, as previously described, are very hard to care for. On top of that, the babies are often treated poorly on the way to their destination. The surviving animals are sold indiscriminately to people who buy them solely to show them off, which alone may not be negative, but yields difficulty in allowing the cubs to receive the strict care standards they need.
  • The current cheetah population is around 12,000-15,000, down from the approximate 50,000 the count was at before human interference. According to the Cheetah Conservation Fund, 104 cheetahs were "lost" to the pet trade in 2012.
  • While the pet cheetah trade is by no means the number one threat that the animals face against their wild populations, removing any animals from threatened populations, especially if the numbers are lower in a specific locale, could bring a significant impact.

Cheetahs are an example of an exotic pet in which the pet trade actually harms wild populations for these reasons, but all exotic pets do not fall under this label, contrary to the erroneous belief.

South African cheetah.
South African cheetah. | Source

A Word on the Schoeman Family's "Cheetah House"

Animal trainers Hein and Kim Schoeman has a video about their cheetahs which has recently gained popularity. The cheetahs are supposedly being prepped for release into the wild. The video startles viewers because, in it, the animals were allowed to interact with young children, then one and three years old. The owners claimed the cheetahs were adopted because they felt the mother could not care for them.

A note on this: Most zoology professionals understand the importance of avoiding hand-rearing big cats if at all possible if they are going to be integrated into a natural setting, and especially if the animals will be released. Animals that are treated like pets are very poor candidates for successful integration, because the wild cat's critical period of development entails important non-replicable changes take place that adapt them to the demands of wild living (which exceed basic hunting skills). A domestic pet cheetah, therefore, is not privy to this training.

It is not mentioned in this short clip why efforts were not made to reintroduce the cubs to the mother after they gained enough strength, or exposed to her and their siblings to avoid to problems associated with human imprinting.

Servals: An Alternative to Owning a Cheetah as a Pet

An African serval.
An African serval. | Source

For those who live in the U.S. whose dreams of owning a cheetah have been crushed, don't fret: there are alternatives. African servals are smaller and cheaper wild cats which closely resemble cheetahs. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species they are not threatened in the wild and have sustainable, captive-bred populations.

However, there are caveats:

  • These animals require a committed owner who is willing to endure possible house destruction in addition to providing an outdoor enclosure.
  • African servals are only legal without special permits in about five states and even that number is decreasing.
  • It is advised to check first if you decide to own one. In states where they are legal, it's also still likely your county, city, or neighborhood association may not permit it.

Note: If servals are illegal where you live, Savannah cats, which are hybrids of domesticated cats and servals may not be, depending on the generation (F1-F6).

Experience Cheetahs Up Close by Volunteering at a Zoo

Another way for one to experience cheetahs up close is to volunteer at a zoo that has them. Hopefully you can work your way up to a position where you can interact with them. If you don't have the time commitment to do this, you can also just attend the zoo frequently and enjoy them. Your money will be put to good use for conservation of the species.

If other animals at the zoo aren't to your preference or liking, or if you just aren't a zookeeper type willing to put up with the annoyances of non-domesticated animals, there are fully domesticated cat breeds with spots such as the Egyptian Mau. You can look into owning a cheetah-lookalike, legally.

Video: Trailer for Duma (Cheetah Movie)

Questions & Answers


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        Karen 10 months ago

        All I can say is that I love cheetahs to pieces and you know what as long as they are happy with you and you show them love and you're treating them good I see no reason that you shouldn't have a cheetah! I don't understand why people wouldn't be happy that you have a cheetah and that you're keeping it alive!?!?! They'd rather see it go in the wild and get killed by lions or leopards or hyenas. I would love to have one, I would pay so much money if they would let me have one. Lol

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        abdullah 14 months ago


      • Melissa A Smith profile image

        Melissa A Smith 15 months ago from New York

        Julia suderman: Biology or zoology. Get a lot of hands on animal experience. Even animal shelters and farms will work.

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        Julia suderman 15 months ago

        Hello this article helped me a lot I want to be a big cat keeper and I was just wondering what would I major in/study to be that

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        billionaireboy 16 months ago

        so you can't own a cheetah anywhere in the United States?

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        Smedley58 17 months ago

        Thank you for this very informative article. We visited the San Diego Zoo last year and watched them transfer a pair of cheetahs from their enclosure. They had them on leashes and walked right amongst the public. They also had a dog accompanying them, of which I inquired why? They said that the dog kept the cheetahs calm as they walked through the crowd. I have also seen many videos of cheetahs around humans and I wondered (since they are endangered) why there was no widespread attempt to domesticate them? My thinking was that domestication might save the species. After reading your article I understand.

        Thank you.

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        JoStolp 19 months ago

        I met an abandoned cheetah (Tammy) who was raised with a dalmatian cub (Spot). Tammy was wild, but Spot responded to humans and Tammy went where Spot went. So at this particular ranch, in South Africa, if you went for a hike Tammy and Spot usually came along. After the hike, Tammy and Spot happily went back to their enclosure, if I remember correctly, about 50x50m (about 0.625 acres).

        She was small, and scruffy (not mangy, but fluffy in unexpected places), and she's on my top ten list of the most amazing things I've ever seen. The top two would be viewing a total eclipse of the sun, and having a barbecue on a sand island in the middle of the Congo River. Yes, I'm bragging about my incredible luck.

        At the time, it was illegal to trade in cheetahs, so mostly they were considered pests and shot out of hand by the farmers who held livestock on the land the cheetahs roamed through.

        The same lodge had 2.5 acre plots for each family of lions, one male and two females. I remember thinking that as a choice of death, it would be an honour and a privilege to be eaten by such a magnificent animal.

        There is a power and a majesty in these animals, if you're lucky enough to see them in a non-zoo environment. Not a natural environment, but closer than a zoo or a cage. The ranch apparently still exists, I just googled them.

        I have no idea where I stand on exotic pets, but I have a baby scorpion in a mayonnaise jar because my husband wanted to squish him when i found him in my bathtub. When he eats enough bugs I'll get him a proper terrarium.

        There needs to be a modicum of reason employed in any discussion about animals. Unless you're willing to give up your little spot of earth to enable the establishment of a "wildlife corridor", you need to support the people who are. Those people make money to buy more land for lions by letting idiot dentists "hunt" an aged animal that is causing his pride damage. The idiot pays, and a professional hunter/game ranger stands right behind the idiot to do the job that he would have done at no benefit to the animals had he merely culled it.

        Let Kenya sell the ivory confiscated from poachers. It would cull the black market, and innumerable communities of animals, and the people who make a living out of caring for them, would be way better off.

      • Melissa A Smith profile image

        Melissa A Smith 22 months ago from New York

        Diana: Your post is strange and stupid, if I'm even understanding it correctly.

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        Diana Palmer 22 months ago

        This article is complete nonsense . A few others have also identified as such . All the so called experts i have seen so far , are complete airheads . In their stupidity , all day long they count calories , vitamins , and plan the next drugging of the captive , to drag them to that creepy table for another medical check up . They treat them like lab rats .Then they wonder why they dont have cubs. Zoos are not different than prisons ,which are meant to ruin your life , to help promote death from natural causes , sometime sooner . The living conditions the cheetahs have there are abhorent ,absolutely disgusting . Any animal would think of suicide , except the most petty pet - dogs . I seldom have read a post from somebody this selfish .In 45 years of observing animals , the best keeper was.....Javier Bardem in " The counselor " .

      • Melissa A Smith profile image

        Melissa A Smith 23 months ago from New York

        I certainly didn't say there were no restrictions...I wish. This article is about cheetahs, not exotic pets. Learn the difference. One species that doesn't do well in captivity. Not all do poorly, and those that don't can be pets. Your emotion won't stop me from getting exotic pets.

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        SunshineHat 23 months ago

        I honestly made an account just to post.

        This was a great read. It makes people aware that cheetahs are not pets and do not do well outside their natural environment.

        And then in the comments you say your glad there are no restrictions where you live to own wild animals. That is is really hypocritical.

        Wild animals should not be pets, period. Just because your passionate that does not give you a moral right to do as you wish. Your just being selfish, putting your own wants ahead of the animals.

        If I misread this whole thing I apologize. But if you really are for exotic pets then shame on you for sure.

      • Melissa A Smith profile image

        Melissa A Smith 23 months ago from New York

        Hanna: No there isn't. Prove it.

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        Hanna 24 months ago

        Not sure why you think you can't own one in the United States. There are two breeders within 250 miles of me with Cubs currently. In Nevada you don't even have to have a permit to get one.

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        Person. 2 years ago

        Well, I think owning a cheetah is wrong.

        It is pointless to pet them and care for them if they are going to die anyway.

        So why not let them be in the wild where they can be happy?

        ∆chrStiAns do noT fear us we Are your frieNds∆

      • Melissa A Smith profile image

        Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York

        Pet ownership is horrifying isn't it? It's one thing to eat an animal, but to feed it and care for it? That's downright cruel.

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        Tahoedirt 2 years ago

        Disgusting- How about leaving all these animals alone ?? I'd like to OWN you as a pet.

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        Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        I have seen cheetahs on a safari in South Africa and they're really beautiful. I don't know if I want them as pets. I could not outrun them.

      • SegaNet91 profile image

        Kristopher Billingsley 2 years ago from Tulsa, OK

        I want one..

      • Melissa A Smith profile image

        Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York

        Error has been corrected. Are we done here?

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        Someone 2 years ago

        For some reason the height of arroganse part of your response made me chuckle since you responded to someone who named themself after a really tall animal.

      • Melissa A Smith profile image

        Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York

        Puzzles Giraffe-- I'm taken aback by your rudeness. Nowhere in this article did I state what LEO supports and I didn't expect anyone to be able to identify that photo, I was simply using it as an example of a proper cheetah home (my mistake, wrong photo, I will use the right photo).

        While this article does NOT promote cheetahs as pets "It is not in the best interest of the species as a whole to keep cheetahs as pets, unfortunately." I do support 'wild' animal ownership, and I AM a 'wild' animal owner. I promote the keeping of any species that is sustainable as long as the welfare of that animal is adequate. How dare you call what I am passionate about "repulsive" and declare that in order to be a 'good environmental steward' my philosophies need to comply with yours. That is the height of arrogance, particularly coming from a private zoo with numerous species that are not committed to any breeding programs and will never see the 'wild'. Also coming from a zoo whose founder got a zebra as a Valentine's day present. You must feel that me and others are not good enough to do the same. I didn't expect to get a nice dose of elitism when I logged in today.

        I fight against zoo opposition. I am sicked by your comment.

      • Puzzles Giraffe profile image

        Puzzles Giraffe 2 years ago

        We have noticed you somehow obtained a photo of our nonprofit conservation center (by the way, this is NOT a cheetah enclosure). LEO Zoological Conservation Center DOES NOT condone wild animals as pets, in fact, we educate against that daily. The idea of promoting cheetahs as pets is not only repulsive but completely irresponsible. As someone who loves wildlife, we would think you would want to share our philosophy of promoting good environmental stewardship. Please take our photo down.

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        brad 2 years ago

        I own a serval and its great. Lots of work, but titally worth it. Greats me at the door every day i come home and cuddles on the couch with us. Great article.

      • adevwriting profile image

        Arun Dev 2 years ago from United Countries of the World

        This can be a way through which humans and cheetahs can live together in harmony. Interesting!

      • Melissa A Smith profile image

        Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York

        Tony, what do you mean by "who you know" policy? Let me just say that you have a better chance getting hired at a zoo than buying a cheetah in the U.S., no matter who you are.

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        Tony 2 years ago

        Ya right, volunteer at a zoo. Do you know how political zoos are. The San Diego zoo is a prime example of its "who you know" policy. It's game locked over there. You had a good idea about being able to be around cheetahs by volunteering at a zoo but that idea is out. So the only thing to do is to obtain one even if it is illegal, who cares. I very much wish that there was such a place to go to be around them and interact.

      • Melissa A Smith profile image

        Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

        Oh, well I'm still not sure if they actually sell cheetahs as pets, I've never heard of such a thing. They are popular on the black market because they are ridiculously hard to breed, requiring a lot of space. Please let me know if you post any pictures.

      • lyoness913 profile image

        Summer LeBlanc 3 years ago from H-Town

        Melissa, the friend I am talking about lives in South Africa- I wish I could post a picture of one of her baby cheetahs for you. I am going to visit her at the beginning of December and I will take pictures of her 'farm' and the babies- they are so cute!!


      • Melissa A Smith profile image

        Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

        lyoness913-- I don't mean to be rude or offensive but that is not true. You must have them confused with servals or Savannah cats. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • lyoness913 profile image

        Summer LeBlanc 3 years ago from H-Town

        A friend of mine has pet cheetahs (several) and she sells them after they are weaned. She makes a fortune from them! Great hub!


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        Brittany 3 years ago

        Yes well, there is always something wrong about owning wild animals always or exotic, even if most of this is true, every article you read whether it's a wolf dog, or a serval cat, or Cheetah or what wild animal there is always a reason why you can't own them. Servals arent Cheetah's no one offers any solutions its always a negative for every exotic pet like this, I read a few servals articles same thing. I do not think that there is harm in owning these animals the right way. What about those thousands of years for pet Cheetahs, were they are uncared for? or indangered yes, maybe that's right with all these animals going extinct today it doesn't surprise me, I don't know why people have to mess with all the wonderful things in life for all the wrong reasons, yet I myself have always dreamed to own a wild animal. Yet wild animals arent for everyone that I do agree, people like to humanize animals to much and that is where it becomes dangerious or unhealthy is they expect them to be like there pet retreiver or house cat, even with horses . Off-track Thoroughbreds there is always discression with owning them in the wrong hands but in the right hands they are wonderful animals. Yet if it is in the right conditions I do not see anything wrong with it, if they were such popular pets all those years ago why is it so different now. I just do not understand people, even with house cats people think that they are all so different but house cats have their ways too, why is it that cats do not have to eat whole prey? and be just as healthy they are pretectors as well. House cats mark their terrotory when they are not fixed, no one calls that wild. Yet cats do it all the time. There are dogs that attack humans no one calls that a wild animal. Animals are so misunderstood in so many ways and there are so many things that are overrated.

      • phildazz profile image

        Allan Philip 3 years ago from Toronto

        Excellent Hub but I will think twice before cuddling a cheetah. I don't think a cheetah could be completely tame; like there'll always be some wild in there.

      • nathalia27 profile image

        Nancy 3 years ago

        You clear all my misconception about cheetah.

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        Hogwr 3 years ago

        Love the vido

      • Melissa Orourke profile image

        Melissa Orourke 3 years ago from Roatán, Islas De La Bahia, Honduras

        Interesting Hub, but I am one who prefers wild animals to live in the wild. I don't support zoos either. I do plan on going on an African Flying Safari, to see God's amazing creatures in a natural habitat.

      • phildazz profile image

        Allan Philip 3 years ago from Toronto

        That's the closest have been to a Cheetah. Thank you!

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        Belle V. Frankfort 3 years ago

        I think it would be dangerous to have a cheetah as I have a busy life. Also it would be illegal in my oppinion. But I love cheetahs at the zoo and there my favorite animal

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        Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

        WhiteMuse if my cheetah got out I would fear for its life, not another person's.

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        WhiteMuse 3 years ago

        I would not want a cheetah. Some of the reasons you state could be used as reasons not to. What we enjoy about wild animals is their freedom. We were taught not to do that. God gave us the cat. Cheetahs could be dangerous. What if it got out? I know it seems fun.

      • Melissa A Smith profile image

        Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

        Thank you Sunshine.

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        Sunshine Days 3 years ago

        Voted up! This is a very interesting hub. I enjoyed reading and learning about this topic.

      • Melissa A Smith profile image

        Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

        Cool, thanks toptengamer.

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        Brandon Hart 3 years ago from The Game

        I use to know someone that had a serval as a pet. This is a very interesting article.

      • Melissa A Smith profile image

        Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

        G Ivanova -- Exotic animals have been kept in 'menageries' for centuries, mainly as a display of wealth I believe.

        Scow2 -- I mostly agree. It's been on the news recently that some experts think people should start keep quolls instead of cats as pets in Australia.

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        Scow2 3 years ago

        From my experience with conservation, one of the best ways to promote environmental health and diversity, as well as protect threatened and endangered species, is to legalize and regulate the hunting/trading of them.

        There will always be people who want exotic pets. It's better for them to go through channels that keep them in touch with the status of the animals in the wild and have their money go to protecting and proliferating the animals than avoiding the law and padding the pockets of poachers (Even though a lot of poachers are feeding and protecting starving African and Indian villages, so...)

        The "More tigers in captivity than in the wild" is not a bad thing, either, as long as the tigers are thriving in captivity. The problem is that Cheetahs are dwindling in captivity, so they're going extinct on two fronts. Even in a worst-case scenario of tigers going extinct in the wild, it won't be a death knell for the species as a whole.

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        G Ivanova 3 years ago

        I had no idea cheetahs have been considered pets for that long, I literally thought it was some new trend that was recently started. This is very informative and useful.

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        Uday Patel 3 years ago from Jabalpur, MP, India

        You are right being and independent person. But it only means stricter enforcement of law in our country in order to prevent rare and severely endangered species from being uprooted from their natural habitats.

      • Melissa A Smith profile image

        Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

        That's right pateluday, live and let live. Let ME live, and keep pets, because it is my passion. Don't condemn me for the illegal actions of others. I'm glad my country (currently) doesn't have regulations like India for many exotic animals.

      • pateluday profile image

        Uday Patel 3 years ago from Jabalpur, MP, India

        In India permission is required to keep wild animals from Government Authority ZSI or some such institution. This is regulation to see that things are done the right way.

        I believe the permission must be granted to general public on exceptional circumstances.

        Here in India we know the kind of trade in endangered birds, butterflies etc flourishes because of demand from other countries. Is this justified. Who is a responsible owner of exotic pets please explain? Live and Let Live!

      • Melissa A Smith profile image

        Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

        Yes pateluday, we should make the pet trade illegal so no responsible owners get to keep their pets. Because we all know how making things illegal stops poachers and criminals from trading those illegal things.

      • pateluday profile image

        Uday Patel 3 years ago from Jabalpur, MP, India

        Very informative article but I do not support this trend of keeping exotic animals and birds as pets. This habit has created massive illegal trade networks and large string of poachers all over the World.

      • Melissa A Smith profile image

        Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

        Thanks Marie G. The safest place for cheetahs is in a decent zoo or private ownership situation.

      • Marie Gail profile image

        Marie Gail Stratford 3 years ago from Olathe, KS

        Interesting. My best friend adores cheetahs, and her bucket list includes the wish to pet one someday. I had no idea that these cats consider grown humans too large to be prey. Of course, it seems that the safest place for them is the wild where they won't be harmed on the way to market and where they can more easily breed.


      • Melissa A Smith profile image

        Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

        Thanks CheetahConserva. Sorry to hear that.

      • CheetahConserva profile image

        Cheetah Conservation Fund 3 years ago from Otjiwarongo, Namibia

        I was pleasantly surprised to read your info about cheetah pets. I have been working on the issue of illegal cheetah trafficking since 2005, and am sad to report that, on average, 5 out of 6 cheetahs died between the time they are taken illegally from the wild and the time they reach "the market" to be sold as pets. It is an issue of great concern as the cheetah populations in areas where the illegal taking happens are very small and isolated. Each litter of cheetah cubs taken from the wild is a step towards the species extinction in those areas. Thanks!

      • Melissa A Smith profile image

        Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

        Michael K, many people say that to me. My articles are geared towards promoting exotic pet ownership. There are and -always will be- more tigers in captivity than in the wild. The habitat of wild tigers has been permanently decimated and each individual animal needs a certain amount of territory to survive. Taking tigers out of captivity doesn't replace habitat. Tigers, unlike cheetahs, breed very well in captivity. Tigers are hunted for their body parts, NOT the pet trade. It's far easier to breed a tiger than to go into the jungle and steal their cubs.

      • Michael Kismet profile image

        Michael Kismet 3 years ago from Northern California

        I'm sorry to be the one to say it, I just don't think it's entirely responsible to have a wild animal as a pet. A clear example is the captive tigers that now outnumber tigers that are in the wild. This actually hurts wild tiger populations, very much like it hurts wild cheetah numbers.

        These wild tigers are likely to go extinct. I appreciate all the care and effort into this article, and that you went over the ethics in having exotic pets.


      • Melissa A Smith profile image

        Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York

        Thank you Carrie.

      • carrie Lee Night profile image

        Carrie Lee Night 3 years ago from Northeast United States

        Voted useful :). Lovely animals :). Great hub; thank you for sharing.

      • profile image

        Raven 4 years ago

        I want a cheetah can I get one here

      • luvtoowrite profile image

        Luvtoo Write 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

        Great Hub and very educational concerning the cheetah. I never knew they were so docile to humans and you are right, there must not be too many in the United States, because I've never seen one at the zoo.


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