In an African wildlife reserve, a wild cheetah approached a courageous photographer before beginning to lick his toes.
Kim Wolhuter, 57, was recording in Botswana’s Mashatu Game Reserve when the curious animal approached for a closer look.
He was photographing a mother cheetah and her four cubs when the female youngster decided to inspect his foot.
The large cat even got a nibble at one point, but Mr Wolhuter walked away with all of his toes intact.
Mr Wolhuter spent six weeks filming the wild cats, during which time he gradually gained trust from the mother and her young.
‘The mother and her kids were nearby, and I had spent some time recording them,’ he explained. The female cub was more inquisitive than her brothers and approached me while I was lying on the ground taking photos.
‘When she went close to me and near my foot, I thought she was going to swat it, but instead she had a lick and a nibble.
‘It hurt a little, so I drew my foot away, but she appeared to know how to nibble gently. After all, a good bite would have elicited a strong negative reaction from me.
‘She appeared to be testing me like a domestic cat would with its owner. I was never concerned because her behavior was not dangerous.
‘She was curious and trusting, so it was critical that I express the same thoughts and be as secure in what I was doing as possible.’
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