Animal Class >> Carnivores


The Cheetah is an endangered member of the cat family. It is the fastest of all land animals and although its fastest speed is unknown, it can reach speeds of more than 105 kilometres per hour (65 mph) in short bursts up to 460 metres (500 yards), as well as being able to accelerate from 0 to 110 kilometres per hour (70 mph) in three seconds, faster than most supercars. It has a slender, long-legged body with blunt non-retractable claws. Its chest is deep and its waist is narrow. Its coat is tan with small, round, black spots, and the fur is coarse and short. The fur of the cheetah is tan with round black spots measuring from 2-3 centimetres (¾ to 1¼ inches) across, affording it some camouflage while hunting. There are no spots on its white underside, but the tail has spots, which merge to form four to six dark rings at the end. The tail usually ends in a bushy white tuft. The cheetah has a small head with high-set eyes. The adult animal weighs from 40 to 65 kilograms (90 to 140 lb). Its total body length is from 115 to 135 centimetres (45 in to 55 in), while the tail can measure up to 84 centimetres (33 in) in length. Males tend to be slightly larger than females and have slightly bigger heads, but there is great variation in cheetah sizes and it is difficult to tell males and females apart by appearance alone.

Facts about Cheetah

  1. The cheetah can reach speeds of 60 or perhaps even 70 miles (97 or 113 kilometers) an hour over short distances. It usually chases its prey at only about half that speed, however. The fastest human beings runs only about 30 kilometres per hour (18 miles per hour).
  2. The cheetah races across the grassy plains of Africa at 100 km/hr, maybe more, arching and stretching its body to run faster. It is the fastest runner in the world, but it can only stay at top speed for a few hundred metres.
  3. A cheetah does not roar like a lion - it purrs like a cat (meow).
  4. The cheetah's excellent eyesight helps it find prey during the day. Sometimes it perches on high places and watches for prey.
  5. When it sights prey, the cheetah often begins to stalk. It creeps as close as possible before the attack. It may lift its head high to keep the prey in sight. But it keeps its body hidden. The cheetah is hard to see because its spotted coat blends with the tall, dry grass of the plains. Suddenly, the cheetah makes a lightning dash. With a paw it knocks its prey to the ground and then bites its throat.
  6. Once found throughout Asia and Africa, cheetahs today are racing toward extinction. Loss of habitat and declining numbers of their prey combine to threaten the future of these cats.

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