Species: Acinonyx jubatus
Cheetah Conservation Status: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/219/50649567
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 (5 feet). They are up to 70-95 cm tall at the shoulder ( 2.5-3 feet tall).
All cats have retractable claws except the Cheetah; they have semi-retractable ones. The reason for this is so the Cheetah can take off at a moment’s notice (the claws help to keep them from slipping at high speeds).
Cheetahs have long powerful legs, proportionately small heads, small ears, and the instantly recognizable “tear stripes” that extend from their eyes to around the muzzle. Cheetahs dine on gazelles, wildebeest calves, impalas and other small ungulates (hoofed mammals). Predators like Cheetahs keep prey populations healthy by hunting the sick, genetically compromised, and weak.
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 wild cats, they are diurnal animals (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). Cheetahs often drag the carcass to a more private shady spot where they can enjoy their dinner at a more leisurely pace.
Cheetahs are typically solitary animals but sometimes males will live with their brothers from the same litter. Females raise their cubs alone for about a year. Unlike other big cats, Cheetahs cannot roar. However, they can purr on both inhale and exhale, like Domestic Cats! The name “Cheetah” comes from the Hindu word “chita,” which means “spotted one”.