Don’t Play With Your Food! (Or Do.)

Normally, if you’re a healthy, red-blooded cheetah, a nice juicy impala is the “runs really fast and goes ‘boing!’ ” part of this good-for-you breakfast.  But what if you’re not very hungry at the moment?  Then he’s your new playmate!

That’s what photographer Michel Denis-Huot discovered in these amazing shots for the Daily Mail.  Already tired from hunting, the cheetahs patted and nuzzled the impala for about 15 minutes…

… and, even more amazingly, the impala nuzzled back …

… before remembering that it was food and scampering away.

Sent in by a gazillion people, all of whom were Goran G.



  1. Starlinguk says:

    Impalas are friends, not food.

  2. oh look, it’s the lamb and the lion… or something 🙂

  3. Third Photo Cheetah: OK, this is weird. 😕

  4. AND COMMON SENSE raises its head again!

    Anybody remember the
    Richard Pryor bit with the cheetahs talking and then warning each other- “Cheetah!”

  5. Elisha B. says:

    Whoa…..I got kinda scared there for a minute…thinkin’ I was gonna see somethin’ sad. Yeah for the baby impala not wearing out his welcome!! Sure hope his momma teaches him a lesson though 😉

  6. maybe they are young cheetahs that haven’t yet totally figured out the huntin’ food thing.

    or maybe they think impalas is cute.

  7. Actually those are the Impala talking and warning each other ABOUT the Cheetah. .*sheesh*

  8. 260Oakley says:

    Photo 4: Little guy remembers he’s a Chevy impala and gets his motor running.

  9. Wow….it looks like the cheetah is about to bite the impalas neck in the second picture.

    Maybe it was really hot and they were all too exhausted to hunt/run anymore….nah. That’s just weird.

  10. Not That Mike The Other Mike says:

    @Emi: In the Daily Mail article (linked above), that’s exactly what the photographer thinks was the case. The cheetahs were just too tired for anything more strenuous than a meet-and-greet with the impala.

  11. It scares me that the impala’s instincts didn’t kick in right away. Just wait ’til he gets home and tells his mommy where he’s been.

  12. Me thinks the impala was out sick for the predator vs. prey class on the day they covered the whole food chain thing.

  13. I understand that cheetahs are geared to chasing its prey – if it stands still, they don’t know what to do!

  14. eastiegirl says:

    Love the hovertext for the first pic. Ha!

    Hooray for the one that got away. Great pic series!

  15. resriechan says:

    Maybe the cheetahs paid off the photog. to invite the impala for
    “a desert scene”….but the cheetahs were planning a lil’ sump’in-sump’in after the photo shoot……

    In any case, I was sure the impala was done for ….run lil’ guy/gal, RUN!!!!!
    You’re built for speed, after all, kid!!!

  16. When it’s hot I have no appetite either 🙂

  17. Hege Charlotte says:


    Daily Mail posted this story, but one of the largest Norwegian newspapers; Dagbladet, decided to do some research on this story.
    They actually got in touch with the photographer, who took these pictures, and he could inform them that the ending Daily Mail came up with, is not close to reality.

    The impala did run away, but […] Ended up as dinner after all. He showed Dagbladet the last 4 pictures of the series, which confirmed the story.

    The photographer, Yann Metricht, don’t know why Daily Mail made up their own ending.

    story in Norwegian: ( )

    [Yes, well, please remember that this is Cute Overload, and not the World Wildlife Breaking News. Journalistic integrity is great and necessary where people expect it, but it isn’t exactly at the top of the fluffy entertainment blog charter. – Ed.]

  18. I love cheetahs!

    The cheetahs appear to be on the younger side, probably an inexerienced coalition of siblings.

    They wanted fast food, but found their eyes were bigger than their stomachs.

  19. Thanks, Hege Charlotte. Nothin’ like Capt. Bringdown to round out the day.

  20. You probably don’t want to spoil the fantasy, but there are more photos to this story than those included by the Daily Mail. Unfortunately. (search for cheetah and impala)

  21. StormCat42 says:

    Many years ago, when I was still driving 18-wheelers, I came upon a sight outside of Ogden, Utah that brought me to standstill….Literally… I was following a car, and chatting on the radio with another driver behind me… We came around the bottom of a small mountain when suddenly the car in front of me slams on his brakes… Now, I’m hauling 80,000 pounds and it doesn’t stop on a dime, so I’m trying to lock down the brakes and warn the guy behind me to do the same thing… Now we’re out in open country, nothing for miles and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why this guy was stopping so suddenly… Then I saw it… Walking from out in front of the car, heading for the opposite side of the road was a Bobcat cub… He was just trotting across the 2 lane highway, like he had no place to go and all day to get there! As we started back on our travel again (and trying to get my heart rate back down to normal), I could only imagine that the poor Bobcat Mom was behind a rock on the other side, having a coronary and planning to take little junior out behind the proverbial woodshed, when he finally got across the road…

    I can imagine that this little guy’s Mom was doing and thinking the same thing!!!

  22. Hege Charlotte says:

    edit: sorry, the photographers name was ofcourse mr. Denis-Hout.

    Yann Metrich is the person Dagbladet spoke to, and he is from the french photo agency Biosphoto, and they are managers of the photos mr. Denis-Hout shot.

  23. Yaaaaaay!!!!! For interspecies snorgling!!!….hooboy, for a minute my heart was in my throat and I thought it might be turning into a Monday slaughter-fest;
    so happy I was wrong…♥♫♫♥♥♪♪

  24. It has a little bit of a Edward (& coven) and Bella thing going on.

  25. It would have maybe lasted longer if it didn’t run

  26. Cheetahs were just tastin’ the impala, see if it has flavor.

  27. Guess my Monday slaughter-fest instinct was right the first time… 😥 😥 😥
    Well; at least we didn’t see the pictures of the unhappy ending… Circle of life, Circle of life, ….

  28. eastiegirl says:

    Yeah, thanks for being the Debbie Downer, Hege Charlotte. Awesome.

  29. I think Cheetahs are one of the most beautiful animals ever, so I’ll go with the Daily Mail version of the story. I don’t want my my mellow harshed, besides I have run out of the cream for its treatment.

  30. fifthsonata says:

    That impala looks absolutely terrified. I think I share that look when I walk into my German class, being the only musicology student surrounded by 20 masters English student.

  31. fifthsonata says:

    err, studentS.

  32. I smell a snitch.

    In the immortal words of Sailor…

    He was a collaborator.

  33. Shouldn’t that be a Gazell-ion sender-inners?

  34. There was a lioness that used to take care of impala fawns, but they would always die from starvation. And the lioness vanished and know one knows where she went.

  35. Hey Jessica, that’s not “taking care of,” that’s called “hoarding.”

  36. Sounds like an intervention was in order.