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Interesting Cheetah Facts
- The cheetah's scientific name is Acinonyx jubatus.
- This animal's habitat encompasses parts of Africa and Iran.
- An amazing fact is this speedy animal can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour (96 km/h) in just three seconds.
- The cheetah's diet consists of various animals. It prefers to chase down smaller prey such as Thomson's gazelles and hares but will hunt larger prey such as zebras when hunting together.
- The Cheetah's hunting method involves sneaking up on its prey, getting as close as possible without being detected, then sprinting at an incredible speed, catching up to and tripping its prey, before moving in for the kill with a bite to the neck.
- This animals speed combined with its great agility make it an incredible hunter.
- The cheetah is the most endangered big cat in Africa. Human beings have moved into areas inhabited by cheetahs, forcing them to move. Humans have also killed off much of this animals prey.
- Modern day cheetahs have been around for a long time, fossils of them have been found dating to the Pleistocene epoch which extended from approximately 2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago.
Cheetah Physical CharacteristicsCheetahs are built for speed; they have many physical characteristics that make them the fastest land animal in the world. These and other facts about the physical characteristics of these animals are listed below.
- Perhaps their most distinguishing physical characteristic are the solid black spots covering the tan fur on their bodies.
- The cheetah has a deep chest and a narrow waist.
- This animal has long, slender and powerful legs.
- It has a small round head and a long neck.
- The cheetah's feet are built for running. It has semi non-retractable claws that give it great traction when running. Unlike most other cats the pads on its feet are hard also helping with its traction when running.
- Cheetahs have black thick lines running from the inside corners of their eyes down the side of their nose to their mouths. These marks help reflect the glare of the sun when they are hunting so that they can keep sight of their prey.
- The cheetah has a long tail that helps them maintain their balance as they turn when chasing down prey.
- The height of adult Cheetahs, measured at the shoulder, ranges from 28 to 35 inches (70 to 90 centimeters). Males are generally taller than females.
- Males weigh between 63 and 143 pounds (28.5 - 65 kilograms) whereas females range from 46 to 139 pounds (21 - 63 kilograms).
- The full length of males, not including their tail ranges from 44 to 54 inches (113 to 136 centimeters) with females measuring about the same. Their tails can measure up to 33 inches (84 centimeters).
Cheetah SubspeciesThe number of subspecies of cheetah is debated; however most experts recognize the following subspecies:
- South African cheetah - lives in the southern part of Africa and is the most abundant of the subspecies.
- Tanzanian cheetah - is the largest subspecies and can be found in Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, and Tanzania.
- Sudan cheetah - up until 2011 this subspecies was not recognized due to its similarity with the South African cheetah. This animal can be found on the Horn of Africa and the central and northeastern regions of Africa.
- Northwest African cheetah - is the smallest African cheetah subspecies. It can be found in northwestern Africa. It has a status of critically endangered.
- Asiatic cheetah - found in the deserts of Iran it is the most critically endangered subspecies of cheetah. In 2015 the total population was estimated to be no more than seventy.