An overexcited cheetah jumped from behind a fence and scratched the Botswanan president's face, the leader's spokesman told Reuters.
Spokesman Jeff Ramsay said President Ian Khama had to get two stitches on his nose after the encounter, which he described as "a freak accident, not an attack."
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The cheetah is part of a menagerie kept by soldiers at the Botswana Defense Force barracks at Mogoditshane in Gaberone, the capital.
Ramsay said Khama, 60, went to watch the cheetahs being fed and "one of them got excited and jumped up at him" with its claw reaching above the enclosure. Khama is well over 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall.
"The president was scratched a bit on the nose and elsewhere ... the claw basically grazed his face," Ramsay said.
Ramsay said there were no security implications to the attack and added that because of the minor nature of the injuries the government had initially decided not to issue a public statement, according to AFP.
Cheetahs are one of the few large cats not to have fully retractable claws, Discovery News reported. Far from being razor sharp the claws are more akin to those of a dog than a lion.
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