Portrait of a young Cheetah in Masai Mara, Kenya. By Maggy Meyer | Shutterstock.com
Portrait of a young Cheetah in Masai Mara, Kenya. By Maggy Meyer | Shutterstock.com

About the cheetah.

Although they are felines, Cheetahs are unable to roar. They emit a bird-like croaking sound they use to identify themselves or call their cubs or other cheetahs.


It is the fastest terrestrial animal, reaching top speeds of 95-115 km/h in runs of 400-500 m.


Female cheetahs can have up to 5 cubs. Many of them are killed by predators and don’t survive past the first year.


Females are solitary and rear their cubs without the help of a male. Males can live in small groups (coalitions) whose members are often brothers.


Cheetahs use distinct facial expressions to show their mood.


The black area around the eyes and the tear-like marks that run down to the mouth reduce glare from the sun. This helps their vision when hunting during the daytime.


Cheetah cubs have longer coarse hair. This helps them camouflage in the grass and keeps them hidden them from lions, hyenas and other predators.


This is the world’s most endangered feline species, as less than 10,000 individuals remain in the wild.


Unlike most other felines, the cheetah’s claws are not fully retractable and they look more like dog’s claws, giving them a good grip on the ground. The pads on its paws are hard like the rubber on a tyre, which also maximizes traction when running.


It is one of the oldest felines, as it became a separate species more than 4 million years ago. It is actually the only extant member of its genus (Acinonyx).


Cheetahs have a long muscular tail with a flat shape. They use it like a rudder when they are running fast and helps them keep their balance and change direction.


They hunt during the day because that is when stronger predators, like hyenas, lions, baboons and leopards, are sleeping. Otherwise these animals would easily steal their prey.

Cheetah female Shingo on a termite hill in Masai Mara, Kenya. By Maggy Meyer | Shutterstock.com
Cheetah female Shingo on a termite hill in Masai Mara, Kenya. By Maggy Meyer | Shutterstock.com
COMMON NAMECONSERVATION STATUS
CheetahVulnerable
SCIENTIFIC NAMESIZE
Acinonyx jubatus50-64 kg (110-140 lb)
FAMILYWEIGHT
Felidae68-181 kg (150-400 lbs)
ORDERLIFESPAN
Carnivora10-12 years
CLASSGESTATION PERIOD
Mammalia90-98 days
POPULATIONDIET
Around 6,700 individualsThey are carnivores that eat prey. Especially the gazelle.
HABITATRANGE
They mainly inhabit open and partially open savannah. They live in the east, centre and southwest of Africa and in a small portion of Iran.

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