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Cheetahs Playing Away From Home


Infidelity is not an uncommon quality in the animal world and cheetahs are certainly living up to their name as a paternity test carried out on a number of cheetahs discovered that their litters included cubs from various different fathers. According to a report on the BBC, their promiscuity may well have negative implications as it makes the cheetahs more susceptible to disease.

Paternity Test – Casanova Cheetahs

According to the BBC report that used a paternity test to discover the cheetah litters were made up of cubs from different fathers, it is apparent that this leaves the animals with a heightened risk of disease. However, it is also suggested that this infidelity is also important for maintaining the genetic diversity of the critically endangered species. Speaking to the BBC, one of the scientists involved in the study, Dada Gottelli, stated, “If the cubs are genetically more variable it may allow them to adapt and evolve to different circumstances. If there is a big change in the environment some may be able to cope better.” So, the test to establish fatherhood is an important means of keeping a check on the diversity of the species.

Once a Cheetah Always a Cheater

The study into the fidelity levels of cheetahs was carried out by scientists across the Serengeti in Africa and the use of a paternity test was the best means of keeping tabs on the genetic diversity of the species. According to the BBC report, the scientists studied DNA samples from 176 cheetahs and discovered that infidelity was rife despite it being uncommon in other big cats. The results from the paternity test discovered that from 47 litters of cubs, 43% contained cubs from multiple fathers. However, Dada Gottelli, the scientist involved in the study said that these findings may not show the whole story. Speaking to the BBC, she stated, “If anything, this is an underestimate. Cheetah cubs suffer high mortality on the first few weeks so it was difficult to get samples from all of them.” So, a simple paternity test that discovers the genetic diversity amongst cheetahs may play an important part in helping to protect this endangered species.

It is a fact that STDs are higher in individuals in non monogamous sexual relationships, all the more in those who tend to be promiscuous.  Cheating and infidelity amongst human beings is frowned upon and monogamy also generally brings a number of social and psychological benefits (although the concept of monogamy is very culture specific). In humans, cheating and two-timing is nowadays pinned down using infidelity DNA testing.

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