No humans were eaten in the making of this photo

By Maria Yagoda
Updated July 13, 2015 01:40 PM
Credit: David Horsey/Caters News

This could have ended badly.

During a safari tour through the Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya, an exceptionally large cheetah jumped up onto the backseat of the tourists’ Jeep and crept toward an Irish man, Caters News reports.

The cheetah inched less than a foot away from the face of Mickey McCaldin, who miraculously did not have a nervous breakdown.

“I’ve been living in Kenya all my life and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said David Horsey, a family friend of McCaldin’s who lives in Mombasa and was on the safari. “The cheetah just wasn’t scared of getting up close and personal.”

Horsey, who captured the pictures of the incident in June, had been tracking the family of cheetahs, noting that they hadn’t had a kill lately and “had been looking for a gazelle for a few days with no luck.”

Turns out, the mother cheetah who hopped up first, named Malaika, wasn’t looking for a kill – she was just snooping around.

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“At first Mickey was really relaxed, but I think he was quite concerned it might try and sit in his lap,” Horsey told Caters News. “Unlike a domestic cat, you certainly don’t want that.”

Fortunately, the cheetah decided Mickey wasn’t worth the effort.

“Once it had got bored of Mickey it turned away and looked out of the vehicle for a few minutes. It just jumped out afterwards.”