Friday, May 1, 2009

Cheetah vs. Gazelle


Cheetahs and Gazelles

The wild animals are vast and various in number. They all have some kind of relationship to animals because they all breathe, eat and sleep just like humans do. Both humans and animals have instinct, but these animal friends may not have the reasoning that humans have. Cheetahs and Gazelles are both animals that are found in the savannahs and the warm climates of parts of Africa and other parts of the world. As most know, the cheetah prey upon the gazelle creating the predator-prey relationship that most people think of. These animals just like every other animal have instinct. One question remains is there any reasoning in the actions of both of these animals. Yes they both have reasoning in their heads. Gazelles realize that they must be agile, fast and alert in the wild. The cheetahs realized that the gazelles became faster and more alert, so the cheetah now realizes in order to catch a gazelle, they must be “hiding in the grass when hunting”(Liwkh) around gazelles. Cheetahs and Gazelles use both instinct and reasoning in their wildlife relationship of hunting the other one, hiding from each other and adapting to the other one’s actions.

When in the wild savannahs of Africa, cheetahs use their instinct when choosing what animal to hunt. The cheetah’s favorite meal is the gazelle. As mostly everyone knows the cheetah is the fastest land animal on the planet, but not everyone knows that the gazelle is the second fastest land animal in the world. Even though the cheetah is faster than any animal, they choose to take on the second fastest animal, the gazelle, which is able to escape the cheetah many times without much of an issue. If cheetahs could think of what animal to feed upon, they would like to choose the gazelle, but they would also know that the gazelle is a quite formidable foe. Even though the discovery channel may show the gazelle getting caught and killed by the cheetah all the time, it is not even close to being like that. The gazelle actually has the cheetah’s number. In the savannahs of Africa, where the cheetahs hunt, “there are many gazelles, so gazelles are a common prey of cheetahs”(TKD Tutor). The gazelle is a common animal, so that is why the cheetah hunts the gazelle, but if the cheetahs had reasoning, they would choose to chase a much easier animal like the hyena. It is instinct to chase the common animal because that is how a certain species can survive. Their instinct is to hunt the most common animal so that is why the cheetah hunts the gazelle. The cheetah acts strictly based upon instinct when they choose to hunt. So it is easy to say that the cheetah acts upon instinct rather than the belief that they act based upon reasoning.

The gazelle uses their instinct rather than reasoning. The gazelle is often the prey of cheetahs. Yes, both the cheetah and the gazelle live in the same habitat, but they feed on different things. Gazelles eat plants, herbs and seeds while cheetahs eat meat. Why does the gazelle go to the drier parts of the savannah and not stay in the grassy parts where the cheetahs do not go as much? It is because they have little reasoning, so they use their instinct to base all of their decisions. In the African savannahs, it is common that there are fires that burn a lot of the plants, so “when the tiny new green shoots of grass begin to grow in areas that have been burnt”(African Wildlife Foundation) gazelles travel there so that their young can eat the grass. These drier parts of the savannah are where the cheetahs like to hunt. These areas where the grass shoots sprout are the favorite feeding grounds for the gazelles, so is it instinct that or reasoning that the gazelle chooses to eat in the drier parts of the savannah. It is instinct because if they realized that the cheetahs live and hunt there, then they would not go to those places and choose to eat in the moderately warm areas where the cheetah does not live. If the gazelles realized that the cheetah lived in the dry, sunny areas of the savannah, then they would not go to those parts as much as they do now. It is this reason that makes it seem hard to believe that the gazelle uses reasoning, or even that the cheetah uses instinct. If the gazelle could realize that the cheetah hunts in the drier areas, then they could possibly have some reasoning, but they do not realize that the cheetah hunts in the drier parts of the savannah, so it is hard to believe that the gazelle could have reasoning because it does not realize that it could eat plants and seeds in the softer ground areas where the cheetah does not go. The gazelle does not realize that they are at a disadvantage in certain areas, so the gazelle uses instinct rather than reasoning.

There are however reasons to believe that the gazelle and cheetah use reasoning. The gazelle must know that it is not as fast as the cheetah, but somehow “they easily escape the cheetahs”(TKD Tutor). This is because the gazelle is able to make many zigzag-like moves without slowing down, while the cheetah is unable to make these quick changes in direction as well as the gazelle can. The gazelle realizes that it is slower than the cheetah, but it also knows that the cheetah is unable to make quick, swift moves like the gazelle can. Also, the cheetah can only run full speed for a couple hundred yards at most, so all the gazelle has to do is run in zigzags for a little bit to slow the cheetah, so that they gazelle may get away or even kill the cheetah itself. The gazelle now has a reason for going to the habitat of the cheetah because they may realize that they can beat the cheetah. If they use this knowledge, then yes the gazelle uses reasoning. While the gazelle uses reasoning, the existing question is does the cheetah use reasoning? Yes, it does because the cheetah has learned to hide in the grass where the gazelles live. The cheetah realizes that its speed is useless in the open savannah because they cannot make the same swift moves that gazelle can. So to use their speed to their advantage, they learned to hide in the deeper grass so that they can jump out and pounce onto the defenseless gazelle whenever they walk by the cheetah. So the cheetah can use reasoning because it realizes that it must be sly when it hunts the gazelle. If these two animals are able to adapt to each other’s advantages and disadvantages, then they must be able to have reasoning and intelligence because it takes intelligence and reasoning to make adaptations to their everyday routines. So it is possible that the cheetah and gazelle use reasoning in their decisions.

Both the cheetah and the gazelle use instinct and that is a fact, as well as the idea of reasoning. The cheetah learned to be sly and the gazelle learned to hold off the cheetah for a minute so that it can tire the cheetah and escape. So the reasoning factor is real and the reasoning factor is real as well. Everyone knows that the instinct of the animal is real, but not everyone believes that reason could be a factor in the choices of a small-brained animal. Both instinct and reasoning are a factor in both cheetahs and gazelles. The cheetah and gazelle predator-prey relationship is based both upon the instinct and reason factors.


Work Cited
“Cheetah versus Gazelle.” 2000. Cheetah versus Gazelle. 23 Mar. 2009.

Liwkh. “Wildlifes in Masai Mara.” 10 Mar. 2004. Crowded in watching a cheetah hunting. 26 Mar 2009. http://travel.webshots.com/photo/1124472377047542657YKnbrF>.
“Thomson’s Gazelle.” 18 Dec. 2008. African Wildlife Foundation. 26 Mar. 2009.

2 comments:

  1. You have most of the major parts of your blog, but there are aspects you need to work on. For example, the spacing on this entry isn't consistent with the spacing on the other entries that you have. The green font is a little hard to look at, but I like that you are using a variety of colors to grab your reader's attention.

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  2. Your post theme here, reminded me heavily of my theme for Instinct vs Intellect. But I enjoyed the points you made and feel like you chose a very good comparison of animals.

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