cheetah is the fastest animal on earth and a very unique cat.
Living in hot and arrid areas of Africa and with a small population in
Iran, they hunt gazelle, rabbits and immature zebra and wildebeast by
stalking to within 30 to 50 yards and then running them down with
blistering speed. Like a formula one racecar the cheetah is built for
speed with a deep narrow chest and lungs, huge heart and wide nostrils.
Their claws do not retract and are always extended providing
extra traction, and the extremly long and flexable tail is used as a
rudder for aid in changing directions. Male cheetahs are the more
social, spending most of their lives in small groups called
"coalitions", while females live with their youngsters until they are
independent and rarely associate with adult cheetahs other than for
brief breeding encounters. Females can be promiscuous and
have been known to have several partners over many square miles of
territory. The cheetah is easily distinguished from other striped big
cats by its black "tear stripes" -Cheetah Facts
have "mantle" of long fur along topline
- 130 lbs
1-3 x yr.
color mutation w/ large spots, striped back
and Cheetah Information Featuring the -AnimalStats-
Making More Cheetahs
Cheetahs will pair up for a few days when the
female is in
estrus, which will occur 3 to 4 times a year until she is impregnated.
Her pregnancy takes about 90 days. She delivers 3 to 6 cubs and moves
them from hiding place to
hiding place one at a time for the first few months of their lives.
This is a dangerous time as she must leave them alone while she hunts.
Males do not take part in the rearing of the cubs. Young cheetahs will
start to stalk and hunt when they are about 4 months old and will be
hunting succesfully by 10 months. In an interseting twist, it is the
mother cheetah who leaves her cubs at about 18 months. They will remain
in a sibling group for another year or so, and then the female siblings
will branch off on their own. Males will sometimes live alone, but
usually they stay together in groups of 2 to 6 probably related
individuals. -Cheetah Facts
One Tough Mother...
Raising 3 to 6 cubs on her own, the mother cheetah is tireless,
fearless and cunning. In the hottest part of the day when
other predators are snoozing in the shade, she will transport her
youngsters one at a time to a new den every two or three days for
they are ready to travel with her.
The Rare King Cheetah
The average cheetah has
spots distributed fairly evenly across its tawny colored coat, and of
course the famous black "tear streaks" down either cheek, but a rare
color mutation exists that was once considered a seperate species. King
cheetahs are the result of two parents with the same reccesive gene
coming together, and they may occur side by side with normally colored
litter mates. The King cheetah has large splotches instead of spots,
the field color is pale or almost white, and there are thick black
stripes down the back. Extremely rare in the wild, and not even
photographed until 1975, several have been bred in captivity with the
discovery of the recessive gene. King cheetahs seem to be normal in all
regards except color. -Cheetah Facts
Normal cheetah color pattern and king cheetah
coat pattern side by side
comparison shows the long mantle hair and thick stripes of a king
cheetah - awesome king cheetah photo by Steve Jurvetsen
A Girl on Her Own...
After the first eighteen months of life spent with mom, female cheetahs
head off to live, hunt, mate and raise young all on
their own. Male cheetahs will remain in groups of 2 to 6 usually
related males called "coalitions" their entire lives. This social
structure is extremely unique and the exact opposite
of what usually occurs in the animal kingdom. -Cheetah Facts
The Thrilling Gamble of Extreme Acceleration
Quicker off the mark
than a Lamborghini, the cheetah is the
fastest animal on earth capable of going from a dead standstill to
sixty miles per hour in 3 seconds. If need be they can maintain 70
miles per hour for the length of 10 football fields before
they overheat and must stop. Hunting by sight they will choose
a gazelle, rabbit or young wildebeast and than run the target down
tripping it with a paw swipe or a body check and closing the deal with
a choke hold. After the extreme acceleration however, the cheetah,
exhausted with its massive heart pumping at over 170 beats per minute,
must rest and cool down. At this critical time cheetahs often find
themselves the victim of a lion, leopard or hyena pack and have their
bounty stolen away. Giving up bulk and brawn for their streamlined and
swift construction, cheetahs are no match for more robust carnivores
and will leave the kill when challenged and sometimes, in their
vulnerable state, be attacked themselves loosing their lives as well as
their dinner- Cheetah Facts
A Few More Cheetah Facts:
The cheetahs claws do not retract
Cheetahs use the
"chase-trip-bite" hunting method, using one front paw to send their
prey into a tumble and then killing with a strong squeeze of
The average cheetahs top speed is probably about 65mph,
with some exceptional individuals reaching up to 70mph for no more than
The cheetahs extremely flexible spine
is the main reason it is so much faster than other speedy animals. You
will never see a horses spine curved as in the above cheetah photo.
The cheetahs famous black "tear-streaks may reduce
glare like a football players eye-black
The 4 to 5ft long cheetah has a 20ft stride - Amazing!
The cheetah is not considered a "big cat" because it is
not a member of the genus panthera, and it lacks the physical ability
to roar Cheetah Facts!
The Fascinating Truth: Animal Fun Facts
tiger was not in the cat family, it was a bear-like creature called a
There is no evidence that the smilodon was striped, but we do
know it had only a 9 inch tail.