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Sunday 4 December 2016

Hello Kitty! Moment Irishman met cheeky cheetah on Kenyan safari

An Irish tourist got the shock of his life on safari in Kenya’s Maasai Mara when a cheeky cheetah leapt into his jeep.

The bold creature got up close and personal with Mickey McCaldin, baring its teeth just inches from his face.

Family friend David Horsey captured the tense stand-off between the pair.

“I’ve been living in Kenya all my life and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said David (62) from Mombasa, Kenya.

“At first, Mickey was really relaxed but I think he was quite concerned it might try and sit in his lap. Unlike a domestic cat, you certainly don’t want that.”

David captured the pictures last month as the group tracked a well-known family of cheetahs, whose mother is called Malaika.

Having followed them for a couple of days previously, they observed that the family hadn’t had a kill for a few days.

“The family had been looking for a gazelle for a few days with no luck,” David said.

jumped

“As we’d been around for a couple of days, I think they were used to the jeep so the mum jumped on top to get a better view.

“I think the other cheetah tried to follow her up but went a different way.

“Once it had got bored of Mickey it turned away and looked out of the vehicle for a few minutes.

“It just jumped out afterwards.”

Mickey was out on holiday with his wife and sister, who are friends of David and his wife, Vicky.

“Me and Vicky have lived in Kenya all our lives but we never feel the urge to leave,” David said.

“People always ask us where we’re going on holiday and it’s always around the game reserves.

“You never know what you’re going to come across – just like this.”

The animal was a little braver than the cheetah captured by newlyweds Edgar and Stacie Cobos in the Serengeti last year.

It stopped short of entering their vehicle, preferring to gaze in through the sunroof.

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