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David Letterman Meets a Cheetah - and Learns What Cheetahs are Scared of (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Sep 10th 2010 6:30AM
David Letterman Meets a Cheetah - and Learns What Cheetahs Are Scared ofJack Hanna is a famous wildlife expert, and a longtime friend of David Letterman. He appears on Letterman's show several times a year, always bringing a random exotic animal along with him. Tonight on the 'Late Show' (weeknights, 11:35PM ET on CBS), Jack arrives with a one-year-old cheetah, and plops the enormous creature right on top of Dave's desk.

Jack also brings along a type of animal that cheetahs are "deadly afraid of," but you might have a hard time guessing what that animal is. Cheetahs can reach speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour; they kill their pray by snapping their throats. The big cats are fairly deadly. So what would scare a cheetah? A lion? A crocodile? A blue whale?

While backing away from the cheetah in terror, Dave suddenly turns and says this: "My god, there's a dog here, for heaven's sake." And there's your answer! Yep, cheetahs are intimidated by dogs -- by a certain type of dog, to be specific. Hanna has brought along an Anatolian Shepherd, one of the oldest breeds on the planet -- dating back some 6,000 years. The dog doesn't look very scary. Rather, it's more of a cute, medium-sized, happy-looking thing. But strangely enough, Anatolian Shepherds are used to frighten off cheetahs ... and also to save their lives.

Hanna explains that cheetahs are an endangered species in Africa. The big cats are shot or poisoned by farmers, because the cheetahs eat all their livestock. There is a danger that the wild animals might be killed off completely. To counter this, conservation groups introduced the Shepherd dog into the area. The Shepherds drive off the cheetahs and protect the farmer's livestock, so the farmers no longer have to kill the cheetahs. Such a simple plan, but so far it's kept the beautiful yellow-and-black cats from going extinct.

However, Dave points out that the cheetah in his studio isn't scared by the dog at all. This is true. The cats and dogs only fight in the wild. If the two animals are raised together in captivity, they will bond, protect one another, and act like they are the same species -- which is pretty cute. In fact, the cheetah is so relaxed around his Shepherd that he pretty much purrs the entire time ... which is pretty adorable too. We just hope that the gigantic cat stays away from Letterman. It would be a shame if he got eaten.

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Amy, you got it right. Many studies have been done proving that cheetahs actually prefer their natural prey. Jack gets a lot of things wrong. Once he said cheetahs have small lungs. Someone really needs to prep him and he's so wrapped up in his ego, implying that he and the Columbus zoo invented the idea of using the dogs. CCF and Dr. Marker have done more for the cheetah than Jack Hanna lets on. There are others as well. I also wished he spoke more about the others unique traits of the cheetah, the semi-retrackable NOT non-retrackable claws, extra large heart, lungs, and arteries, and when the cheetah hunts a special film drops down to protect their eyes and although their speed is impressive their acceleration off the line is even more impressive. Ignorant farmers shot thousands of cheetahs (especially in the 1990's) but in recent years thanks to the efforts of CCF and others farmers are beginning to learn how to live with them instead of treating them like vermin.

October 03 2010 at 7:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i love cheetahs so much and this animal just looks so beautiful on it. Letterman looked terrified of it.

September 10 2010 at 4:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Does anybody know the breed of the dog? I can't seem to find it?

September 10 2010 at 2:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Acemkr's comment

It is an Anatolian Shepherd.

September 10 2010 at 2:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Too bad Jack Hanna got a few things wrong. Cheetahs do NOT like to hunt livestock. First, the only cheetah that will hunt livestock is one that lost it's mother too young to learn to hunt or one that is sick or injured and can't hunt. They are only a *perceived* threat to farmers. Leopards are more likely to kill livestock. Second, they are not "deathly afraid" of Anatolian shepherds or any other dog. These dogs are used because they can be raised from puppies among livestock and will be very protective of them. They also have very powerful and loud barks which allows them to scare any predator away. For more information on cheetah conervation efforts visit www.cheetah.org

September 10 2010 at 1:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

One of several inaccuracies in the article..the writer said the Cheetah was 1 it is 2...shall we go on? If you can't get that simple of a fact...*sigh*

September 10 2010 at 1:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I saw this live.. classic! that cheetah is so beautiful.. and it purrrrsss?? awwwww.. I want to cuddle and snuggle with her : )

September 10 2010 at 1:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

because he owns the production company,world wide pants,now you know.

September 10 2010 at 12:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey Kevin, we won't ask if you don't tell...jms

September 10 2010 at 12:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why does this clown still have his own show?? jms

September 10 2010 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

...and all you brave he-man types, including Oliver Miller would have just hugged this cat and show how brave you all are.
Your all a batch of a$$hole keyboard warriors with a minus six IQ. Grow up.

September 10 2010 at 12:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to MARIAH's comment

tell them girl!

September 10 2010 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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