By Josie Whitehead
Apprehensive yet not alarmed, gazelle cautiously graze.
From the shadows of night’s cloak a solitary shape emerges -
An elegant, spotted shadow, stealthily, slinks through the grass.
Apprehensive yet not alarmed, gazelle continue grazing.
The formidable feline pads inaudibly through moonlit pearl grass
Whilst the shadows of night encompass her furtive form.
A rustle of grass, the breath of the breeze, a whisper of wind?
Heads are raised, eyes slice through blackness, ears prick –
She pauses, freezes, statuesque in the shadows of night.
Apprehensive, yet not alarmed, her prey continue grazing –
But from the depths of the tall grasses their predator strikes.
The cry goes up and panic reigns as the whole herd flee as one.
The chase is on. At the speed of light they surge, spring, flee.
Driven by hunger this streamlined huntress never falters.
On wings of speed she streaks across the Serengeti plain.
Too late, too late for the chosen victim. The leopard strikes,
A short sharp struggle and then for one old deer, the end.
But for this skilled huntress, a clandestine feast and sleep.
From the branch of a tree comes a guttural purr of contentment.
Whilst once more somewhere far out on that African plain,
Apprehensive yet not alarmed, graceful gazelle graze whilst
The hot African sun rises, scorching the Serengeti once again.
Another day starts and, whilst all appears peaceful to human eyes,
The night’s dark secrets are once more enshrouded by the sunlight.
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Do you know the difference between a leopard and a cheetah?
The most common difference between these two animals is the patterns on their coat. At first glance, it may look like they both have spots, but in actual fact, a leopard has rosettes which are rose-like markings, and cheetahs have a solid round or oval spot shape.
Right: Cheetah with oval spots.
Left: Leopard with rosette markings.