This is 7News’s last edition of Animals Up Close, and it’s certainly a special one.
The Oglebay Good Zoo is offering a brand new animal encounter this year with the cheetahs.
Normally it’s for visitors that are 18 and over, but this week’s contest winners got a special up close encounter with Frankie and Andiamo, or Andi for short.
These cheetahs are hyper observant animals that took their time coming closer for food.
Cheetahs are from Africa, and while the females like to be alone, the males travel in groups.
“Male cheetahs will form a group and it’s called a collation,’ said Oglebay Good Zoo Curator of Animals Mindi White. “So male cheetahs will actually hook together with their litter mates.”
These guys can hit up to 70 miles an hour running, making them the fastest land mammal, and that allows them to catch fast moving prey.
“I enjoyed it!” said Animals Up Close winner Gideon Titus-Glover. “You had to put the meat on the stick and then you put the stick through the mesh and they’ll eat it.”
No, cheetahs don’t meow like a cat. It’s the other way around.
“Remember that these guys are cats, so a lot of things that you see with a domestic cat are actually from the wild cats,” White explained.
When you get up close to these beautiful animals, you’ll see their unique pattern of spots.
While they might stand out to you, they actually allow the cheetahs to camouflage themselves.
“The spots actually help them blend into the tall grass,” said Animals Up Close winner Hadassah Titus-Glover.
“When they’re among all those grasses and all that dry grass and they’re walking behind it and you can’t even see. It’s fascinating,” White added.
Whether they’re hiding in the grass, or standing on termite mounds to survey their surroundings, you can bet these cheetahs won’t miss a thing.
“It’s kind of cool how they’re like um the eyesight is a lot better than anything else,” Gideon said.
If you’d like to see Frankie and Andi for yourself, the Oglebay Good Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the weekends.
For more information on scheduling animal encounters, call 304-243-4100 or visit oglebay.com/good-zoo.