Genus: Acinonyx (The cheetah is the only member of this genus)
Species: Acinonyx jubatus
Asiatic Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus): Current range is in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Used to live in India, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Russia but is currently extinct there.
Northwest African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus hecki): Northwest Africa (Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Tunisia) and western Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal
Tanzanian cheetah. (Acinonyx Jubatus raineyii): Eastern Africa (Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda)
Acinonyx Jubatus Jubatus: Southern Africa (Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia)
Acinonyx Jubatus soemmeringii: Central Africa (Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Niger, and Sudan)
The cheetah is the fastest animal on land. They can run up to 120 kmph (75mph) in short bursts and can accelerate up to 100 kmph (62mph) in 3 seconds. Cheetahs weigh 60-70 kg (132-154 lb) and the body is up to 150 cm long (60 in or 5 feet). They are up to 70-95 cm tall at the shoulder ( 27-37 in or 2.5-3 feet tall).
All cats have retractable claws except the cheetah. They have semi-retractable ones. The reason for this is these sprinters’ claws need to be ready at all times, so that the cheetah can take off at a moment’s notice (the claws help to keep them from slipping at high speeds).
Cheetahs have extra long legs, these tiny lil pinnerheads, small ears, and those famous “tear stripes” going down from their eyes to around their nose. Cheetahs enjoy dining on gazelles, wildebeest calves, impalas and other small ungulates (hoofed mammals). It is estimated there are 12,000 cheetahs living in the wild today across 25 African and Asian countries (in 1900 it is estimated there were 100,000). In Iran, there are around 200 cheetahs living in small isolated populations.
Found where there are open savannahs (grassy plains in tropical or subtropical regions with few trees), cheetahs use the tall grasses to hide in while hunting. Unlike a lot of cats, they are diurnal animals (more active in the day- the opposite of nocturnal) and they generally like to hunt during the late morning or early evening. Each chase lasts only 20-60 seconds and only half result in a kill. In a high speed chase, Cheetahs knock their prey off their feet and then bite their necks so they suffocate very quickly. They have to eat fast too because bigger animals might try to steal their meat (like lions, leopards, hyenas, and wild dogs). They often drag the carcass to a more private shady spot in where they can enjoy their dinner at a more leisurely pace.
Cheetahs are typically solitary animals except males will sometimes live with their brothers from the same litter. Females raise their cubs by themselves for about a year. Unlike other big cats, cheetahs cannot roar. However, they can purr on both inhale and exhale, like domestic cats! Their name comes from the Hindu word “chita,” (“spotted one”).
As of 2015, the Cheetah is declared to be Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Conservationists are working around the clock to change this however and there is lots of hope for the gorgeous Cheetah.