Cheetah laps up water from a swimming pool with his brother

  • These big cats popped up for a drink at Tshukudu Game Lodge near Hodespruit, South Africa
  • British photographer Tracey Jennings could not believe her luck when they came up to the pool
  • The animals are brothers called Hunter and Floppy who hunt together and share their kills
  • Cheetahs are protected within the Great Kruger National Park but remain an endangered species
by Chris Summers

This thirsty cheetah fancied a change from its usual drinking hole...and slouched over the edge of a swimming pool to take a sip.

The thirsty big cat and his brother had spent the day in the South African heat hunting impala and wandered up to a lodge's swimming pool to quench their thirst.

As the two cheetahs leaned over the pool - which is used by guests of the lodge - the water reflected upon them and gave them a momentary blue glow.

Hunter and Floppy quench their thirst in the swimming pool of the Tshukudu Game Lodge in South Africa.  The lodge is close to the Great Kruger National Park

Cheetahs are the fastest animals on the planet. They have been clocked at 75 miles per hour when chasing their prey. But they are an endangered species, partly because of the loss of much of their habitat

After the pair, named Hunter and Floppy, had quenched their thirst, they retired to the trees so they could rest in the cool shade and groom one another.

Photographer Tracey Jennings, 44, took these shots as she was relaxing at Tshukudu Game Lodge in Hodespruit, South Africa.

The lodge is close to the Greater Kruger National Park, home to many big cats and wild animals such as cheetahs.

Hunter and Floppy quench their thirst in the swimming pool of the Tshukudu Game Lodge in South Africa.  The lodge is close to the Great Kruger National Park

Hunter and Floppy quench their thirst in the swimming pool of the Tshukudu Game Lodge in South Africa.  The lodge is close to the Great Kruger National Park

There is no fence so the cheetahs are able to just walk in and drink from the swimming pool.

The two cheetahs and another sibling of theirs live near the lodge and are used to humans.

When they were younger, their mother was killed by a lion and they were partially reared by experts at the lodge.

The three big cats spend most of their time in the Greater Kruger area, but sometimes they return to the lodge for a while.

Ms Jennings, who is from Leeds, said she was just five metres from the cheetahs when they came for a drink.

Ms Jennings said: 'The swimming pool belonged to the lodge - it was the guest pool.

'While we were hanging out at the pool we were greeted by the two boys, Hunter and Floppy.

South Africa, being in the southern hemisphere, has its summer between October and February and this snap is thought to have been taken on a hot summer's day

South Africa, being in the southern hemisphere, has its summer between October and February and this snap is thought to have been taken on a hot summer's day

'They had been hunting earlier that day, and had wandered back to the lodge to sit in the shade of the tree.

'Guests were taking pictures of the cheetahs, who were in a 'hang-out but no touching mood', and then one came to drink at the pool. Shortly after his brother joined him.

'It was such an unusual situation that I picked up my camera and started shooting.

'They were drinking for around 10 minutes then they went off to do what all cats do - sleep in the shade under the tree and groom one another. Later they wandered back into the bush.'

'There is an unfenced lodge so the cheetahs can just walk in. At the lodge there are three cheetahs that are habituated so they are used to humans but hunt, and roam freely within the reserve.

One of the cheetahs drinks from the swimming pool

One of the cheetahs glances up suddenly as it drinks from the pool

Photographer Tracey Jennings said they were drinking for about 10 minutes. She said their mother was killed by a lion so they partially reared by experts at the lodge and are comfortable around humans

'When they were younger their mother was killed by a lion, and they were partially hand reared.

'Sometimes they are not seen for days, and other times they just turn up.

'Sometimes they will allow human contact, and other times they want to be near humans but no touching. If they are injured or in trouble they normally turn up at the lodge.

'They are brothers so they hang out together all the time as a coalition. I have watched them hunt together, groom each other, eat together and sleep together.

'When they hunt, if one is successful and the other fails they share the food. One eats and the other stands guard.'

Having slaked their thirst the big cats lazed about a bit before strolling off into the bush. Hunter and Floppy are brothers who are often seeing sharing their kills

Having slaked their thirst the big cats lazed about a bit before strolling off into the bush. Hunter and Floppy are brothers who are often seeing sharing their kills

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