Pumpkin Rumpus

This is what happens when you leave your pumpkins out too long.

Cheetah, cheetah, pumpkin eatah…

Soon the pumpkins turn very fuzzy…

Hunting pumpkins is one of the most important skills a cheetah will ever learn…

Photos by Matt Marriott/Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Sent in by Jill R.


  1. *gulp*
    What happened to the pup? She vanished after the second pic. Maybe she was just being very smart?

  2. Or……………….. she turned invisible!

  3. Or maybe she was The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown?

  4. Silly Ozbirds. The lab put on a cheetah costume in picture 3 for Halloween!

  5. D’oh!
    Thanks, that makes perfect sense. I don’t know how I missed it. :)

  6. Mary (the first) says:

    How beautiful is this?!?

  7. Last week the zookeepers at Busch Gardens put the pumpkins in the cheetah habitat for some special Halloween-themed enrichment. Kasi and Mtani, and Cheetah Run’s adolescent female cheetahs loved the new smells and textures of the pumpkins.

  8. I’m assuming that is Busch Gardens — the cheetahs there live very happily with that dog!

  9. Why is there a dog among the cheetahs??

    I hope she is safe.

  10. Me too… those pics gave me a lot of concern for the pup. Not quite cute, I’d say.

  11. Oh noes, those meanies at Busch Gardens are feeding dogs to the cheetahs again!!

    …Actually, raising captive cheetahs alongside dogs is a pretty common practice. Often mother cheetahs aren’t nurturing their young properly, or the cubs need a similarly-sized playmate. These Busch Gardens cheetahs have had their dog friend for a long time.

  12. what great cheetah toys

  13. Want. That. Job!

  14. Playing with a cheetah cub is a job?!

  15. Why is this not a Disney movie?

  16. victoreia says:

    They tried with “The Fox and the Hound”. I think Fird’s right: this IS better!

  17. Fird Birfle says:

    ‘cuz it’s BETTER, THAN a disney movie :)

  18. omg, fuzzy-hayded babee cheetah and lab puppeh rolling around on animal-themed sheet… ded!

  19. …and the redonkulous toe beans on the cheetah bebeh!

  20. Cheetah groups are called coalitions?! How kewl is that. So does this make it the lab and cheetah coalition?

  21. Thanks for the info ^^

  22. Hi Andy, Flavia, all, it’s OK. You will be relieved to know sender-inner Jill R. says that the cheetah and pup at Busch Gardens are an infamous duo. Nothing to worry about.
    The pup looks to me like a young Rhodesian Ridgeback, a breed that might get miffed at being fretted over.

  23. Yes, as Zeki said, it’s quite common for dogs to play nursemaid, mother, playmate to young cheetahs in captive situations. You can tell by their fuzzy necks that he cheetahs in the first three photos are young, probably 15 months. Then their mom enters stage left in the last photo.

  24. *whew* good to know. I was afraid that was going to be a very scary Halloween for the doggie.

  25. LisaLassie says:

    Wasn’t that the name of a famous Agatha Christie story: “Dog Among the Cheetahs”?

  26. Cambridge Rat Mom says:

    Cheetahs, especially cheetahs that have grown up around humans and other domesticated animals, are very friendly and not interested in them as a meal. They were kept as pets by the ancient Egyptians because they were so easy to tame down. I’m sure puppy is still there looking for other pumpkins.

  27. In pic two the cheetah looks very hungry at the sweet doggie… Or maybe the puppy just left because he couldn’t play with the very big ball…

  28. Those cheetahs look exhausted after chasing those wild pumpkins down.

  29. Cheetahs are one of the few animals fast enough to catch a pumpkin in the wild.

  30. Cambridge Rat Mom says:


    [I got a message that said I was posting comments too fast and to slow down. Go figure..]

  31. Hilarious! :D

  32. Presto! It’s Halloween! The Goggie is wearing a cheetah costume. Trick or not?

  33. Martha in Washington says:

    Now I wish I had bought a pumpkin! I didn’t know they attracted cheetahs!
    Next year, I will find the most sincere pumpkin patch and wait all night for the cheetahs to appear!

  34. ….So, the Great Pumpkin appearing would be a bonus?

  35. )-: My pumpkin only attracted squirrels this year. And now what’s left is a chunkapunkin.

  36. warning to dogs! cheetah spots are contagious, just look at the transformation from the second to the third photo!

  37. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

  38. victoreia says:

    “Lenny….*you* will have saved the lives of *millions* of registered voters.”

  39. “He’ll get up, we’ll all get up… it’ll be anarchy!”

  40. I’ve always wanted a cheetah. I never knew all I had to do was grow ginormous punkins to attract one. Geez, all these years just wasted . . .

  41. “Wow, Chet, these are the biggest tiger eggs I’ve ever seen!”

  42. woah – can we get a tongue-hance on the cheetah in the second pic?!

  43. WE GOT IT!!

    OK, we can stop Occupying Cute Overload now.

  44. We are the 99% that want a TONGUE-HANCE!!!
    oh. Never mind… Thanks, pyrit!!

  45. Eyes watching you everywhere….

    (eyeballs in paintings peeping sideways)

  46. :-D

  47. Pleeeeeeeease, O Great Gods of CO???

    Maybe if we all start chanting: TONGUE-HANCE! TONGUE-HANCE! TONGUE-HANCE!

  48. [waving pompons and stomping feet on bleachers]

  49. ceejoe, OK now hand over the pom poms. We’re going to put them in a safe place until class is over.

  50. Thank you for the tongue hance, Pyrit! It was even more darling than I imagined! :)

  51. Yay pyrit! And what a fantastic tongue-hance it is!
    woohoo! *happydance*

  52. Doin’ the tongue-hance happy dance.

  53. [grumble, grumble…]

  54. Fird Birfle says:

    *head turns from one side to the other side, searching*

    “Where are the bleachers, ceejoe????” ;)

  55. Right over there, where Theresa’s Invisible Extra-Dimensional Stable of Husbands (or whatever it’s called) is sitting…

  56. Fird Birfle says:

    PS: ceejoe, I’m considering and cannot decide which of the Big Bang Theory Fellows to add to my own Stable. I’m thinkin’ it’s probably Leonard …..

  57. I came here to ask for a tongue hance too! Love the uncertain look on his face, like he is gingerly tasting it because he thinks he might not like it. Akin to sticking exactly one toe in the water before going swimming. :)

  58. yes! the little “schlurppp” keels me

  59. My new obsession: cheetah tails.

    I have a thing for cats with thick tails (see Maru), but these are just REDONKULOUS!! Especially on such lanky animals–their tails are thicker than their legs!

  60. If you like big tails, look for snow leopards.

  61. I will do that, Rhea. Thanks for the tip!

  62. Fird Birfle says:

    Them, there, be sum mighty BI-YUG PUM’KINS !!!!!! YOWZA & stuff !!!

  63. I suspect that zoos nationwide, if not worldwide, have special budgetary funds for pumpkins and jack-o-lantern carving vendors. Also special ice-making machines that insert fruit, bamboo, meat or fish inside cakes of ice. A very specialized demographic.

  64. Many zoos get donations for much produce, especially things like pumkins that are specialty things. At the zoo I work at, we got a ton of pumpkins donated for our Boo at the Zoo event, we took them home and carved them for the event, and then yesterday a bunch of lucky animals got them. Our peccaries loooooved destroying the pumkin I carved. :P As far as the machines, yeah we got em, they are called zookeepers, lol. Zookeeping makes one very creative when it comes to food presentation.

  65. I know it’s totally WRONG to say this, but OMG! I want a baby cheetah!!!!!!

  66. “Homer, I just realized we never had a wedding for the dog and the cat! They’ve been living in sin!”

  67. Hey Kris, If loving & wanting a cheetahs is wrong none of us here want to be right !!!
    This is the one (o.k. BEST) place to say you want a particular type of critter ’cause we understand !

  68. Ok, so today is my birthday. Anybody want to bring me a baby cheetah as a present???? I’ll be here waiting allllll day! :)

  69. Fird Birfle says:

    “Happy Birthday to you
    Happy Birthday to you
    Happy Birthday tooooooo yooooooooooou……” :)

    Click away, below, Kris —

  70. Awwww, thank you!! Guess it will have to suffice for the real thing! :D

  71. Fird Birfle says:

    MODERAYSH for a happy birthday song, and a plush cheetah cub?????


    *pouts, impressively, in the corner*

  72. Fird Birfle says:

  73. wow, that’s a mighty impressive pout ya got there, firdie

  74. Hey, you know what would be a really fun thing to do for Halloween? Let’s put out some great big pumpkins to attract the neighborhood cheetahs. Then, when our dog goes over to see what’s going on, the cheetahs can eat him! It’ll be as much fun as that time we threw one of our pet meerkats in the fireplace so the other two could watch him burn!

  75. OMG, I am laughing SO HARD over here!!! I have been here a long time, and now that we have the FB log in, I’ve got my whole name out here, but I’ve been Kristabelle and Kris (although not the only one that uses that name, apparently). My old avatar was a Stargazer Lily.

  76. 8O

  77. Fird Birfle says:

    *whistles Innocence Tune*
    *attempts to walk off, in a diff’runt dee-reckshun, from skippymom, ‘fore she notices ….*

    (shifty eyes)

  78. LOL… omg that was a great commentroversy… ah, the good ol’ days…

  79. (hurls big gob of butterscotch pudding at ceejoe)

  80. *SPLUCK*

  81. skippymom says:

    Noelegy, you’ve ALWAYS wondered that? Your whole life? Even before you started coming here? Wow………..

  82. I always wondered what the sound of pudding hitting a person would be. You captured it perfectly. That’s almost Don Martin-worthy. :D


  84. tapioca back atcha!

  85. Uh….Skippymom? Did you eat all of the Halloween candy this morning?

  86. kristabelle41 says:

    Hey look, here I am! Still giggling at Skippymom…

  87. skippymom says:

    (bowing and waving)

  88. Who knew any kind of cat would eat pumpkin!

  89. i think my kitten might be related: http://bit.ly/uwlKOj


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