This Cheetah Knows How To Make A Dramatic Entry

03/21/2014 02:08 pm ET | Updated Apr 10, 2014

Cheetahs are renowned for their running ability. But if these photos are any indication, they don't mind spending some downtime lazily gazing through the sunroof, either.

Australian photographer Bobby-Jo Clow snapped these incredible pictures of an encounter she had with a young cheetah in Tanzania.

"I was on safari in the Seronera area of the Serengeti when I came across a mother cheetah and her two juvenile offspring," Clow explained in a blog on Africa Geographic. "One of the cats walked straight past the driver’s door and then loitered around the front of the vehicle."

Shortly thereafter, the cheetah leaped onto the vehicle's hood and curiously peered at the vehicle's occupants. The animal then jumped onto the roof of the car. Clow writes what happened next:

The young male then started to relax and made himself quite at home. He rested his front paws through the car roof, they were actually dangling in front of my face. At one point he put his whole head into the car and smelt my head. The cheetah stayed there for another five minutes before his mother started to call to him. He then jumped off our car and headed back to his family.

The resulting photos are so striking they seem almost fake. "Is this photoshop park?" someone asked on Clow's Facebook page, to which she answered, "This is 100% real."

According to the African Wildlife Foundation, the global cheetah population has decreased 30 percent in the last 18 years, largely as a result of habitat loss, which has shrunk to an area that is 76 percent smaller than it once was.

PHOTOS from Clow's close encounter with the juvenile cheetah:

  • This is the heart-stopping moment a photographer came within inches of a young cheetah who stuck his head through her sun roof. Australian Bobby-Jo Clow, 31, was on safari in Tanzania when the juvenile cheetah started heading toward her vehicle with his sibling. She snapped away as the young male dangled his paws in front of her face and smelled her hair before his mother called him away into the wilds of the Serengeti National Park. But not until Bobby-Jo, a full-time elephant keeper at a Tanzanian Zoo, had leaned forward enough to capture the perfect shot, causing the cheetah to hiss and bare his teeth. (BOBBY-JO CLOW PHOTOGRAPHY/CATERS NEWS)
  • The cheetah approaches the windscreen. (BOBBY-JO CLOW PHOTOGRAPHY/CATERS NEWS)
  • The cheetah peers inside the car to see who is inside. (BOBBY-JO CLOW PHOTOGRAPHY/CATERS NEWS)
  • Bobby-Jo Clow with the Cheetah resting on the roof. (BOBBY-JO CLOW PHOTOGRAPHY/CATERS NEWS)
  • The cheetah on top of the safari vehicle. (BOBBY-JO CLOW PHOTOGRAPHY/CATERS NEWS)
  • The cheetah looks straight at the photographer while peering through the roof of the safari vehicle. (BOBBY-JO CLOW PHOTOGRAPHY/CATERS NEWS)

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