Cheetahs play cat and mouse with miniature racing cars

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A family of cheetahs on an Oregon wildlife ranch got to hunt a remote-controlled race car last week as a kind of “enrichment.”

The accompanying footage was shared April 2 by Wildlife Safari, a drive-through park home to more than 600 animals, including rare and endangered species.

“Our year-old cheetah family and mother Paca really enjoyed watching our cheetahs while keeper Rob drove around in the car for them,” the facility said Facebook. “Enrichment can come in a number of ways. One thing we always do is close our entry and exit gates of our cheetah/tiger drive-through loop and allow a single cheetah or a group of cheetahs to explore.

“The biggest question we are always asked is whether the cheetahs have the ability to run? While this opportunity gives them this chance, they are cats so sometimes they need a little motivation!”

As viewers will notice, the cheetahs aren’t sure what to make of the race car. They seem to enjoy chasing it but don’t really want to catch or even touch the motorized vehicle.

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Most of the nearly 900 comments were positive, including this one from a follower named Adam: “Just proves cats are cats sometimes. They love to hunt and their predator-prey instinct kicks in whenever the hunt begins.”

Cheetahs are the fastest land animals on the planet and can reach speeds of 80 to 80 miles per hour, so an enrichment schedule that allows for running and tracking seems like an important suggestion.

In addition to being a drive-through park open to the public, Wildlife Safari operates a cheetah breeding program in partnership with the associate of the Species Survival Plan for Zoos and Aquariums for cheetahs.

According to Wildlife Safari, 235 cheetah cubs were born locally and “have populated zoos across the United States.”

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