AGE: (2018) 14 years
WEIGHT: (2013) 41.1 kg | (2014) 40.5 kg | (2015) 39.6 kg | (2016) 36.9 kg | (2017) 36.3 kg | (2018) 38.1 kg
COMPANIONS IN ENCLOSURE: Hoover
REASON FOR CAPTIVITY: Captive reared.
Dyson is one of our cheetah AMBASSADORS at AfriCat’s Carnivore Care Centre.
Dyson and his two sisters, Hoover and Vax came to AfriCat when they were just eight weeks old and their mother had been shot for killing a kudu calf. Even after their traumatic experience they settled down quite quickly and had absolutely no problem taking to food. They demolished whatever was given to them in a matter of minutes – hence them being named after vacuum cleaners. Dyson and his siblings are the ‘darkest’ cheetahs residing at the AfriCat Care Centre.
Some cheetahs have a rare fur pattern mutation of larger, blotchy, merged spots. Known as “king cheetahs”, they were once thought to constitute a separate subspecies but are in fact African cheetahs; their unusual fur pattern is the result of a single recessive gene. In 2012, the cause of this alternative ‘coat pattern’ was found to be a mutation in the gene for transmembrane aminopeptidase Q (Taqpep), the same gene responsible for the striped “mackerel” versus blotchy “classic” patterning seen in tabby cats. The mutation is recessive, which is one reason the pattern is so rare. Although DYSON and his last remaining sibling, Hoover are not ‘King’ cheetahs, and do not have the pattern mutation, they do have the rare, darker than usual colouring – which makes them both ‘uniquely darker’ than any other cheetah we have seen at AfriCat.