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Many visitors and commenters to my channel have asked what a cheetah grooming feels like. Is it like house cats, where it's feel like sandpaper. Does it hurt? I get Gabriel the cheetah to answer that questions using me as the test subject. I also show the anatomy of the surface of a cheetah tongue UP CLOSE! I explain through demonstration about the purpose of a cheetah tongue. Cats use their spiny tongues to lick meat off bone, peel back skin of prey, cleaning and keep their fur groomed and tiddy, and lap up water with the high surface area all those spines cause. A cat's tongue also spreads a deodorizing agent from their saliva that masks scents. It is a reason cats love to groom themselves and each other. It helps hide their scents from predators and prey!
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and respect. I demonstrate this by educating you about the power of a cheetahs tongue by allowing Gabriel to groom my arm until it bleeds. I've watched episodes of Coyote Peterson style of life science education through the power of pain and self inflicted damage. It's entertaining, interesting, and educational so I thought I would try it with Gabriel... my cheetah buddy.
I get damaged skin all the time from interacting with cheetahs;
through scratches and grooming (but not bites so far... knock on wood). I learned to move my body in the direction of their licks and grow a thick goatee and let my hair a little longer (what's left of it) to avoid getting cut.
A cheetahs tongue is covered with 100s of sharp 1 to 6 millimeter spines over 95% of the upper surface of their tongues.... ALL the way back to their throat. Must feel weird. The spines are make of keratin which is the same substance our fingernails and a cheetahs claws are made of. I equate the feeling being groomed by a cheetah to 10-Grit sandpaper with tiny backward pointing sharks teeth!
Enjoy the video and try not to get squeamish about it, I take the pain for science! It was only a surface scratch after I finished letting Gabriel groom my arm.
Some people think these predators will go into a feeding frenzy if they taste your blood. NO... If an animal considers you family and a friend, it will not just turn on you and eat you. If that was true, then most all predators would become cannibals and eat each other at the slightest injury or blood on themselves from prey. These big cats are not mindless killers like many people have the misconception about. They have some common sense thought and instincts.
Gabriel is legally owner and fully sponsored by me. The wonderful staff at Cheetah Experience houses and cares for him while I am away. I hope soon to have my own cheetah breeding and release project in South Africa where I can care fulltime for him and begin a conservation program for captive cheetahs.
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