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The Cheetah

cheetah face

(Acinonyx jubatus)

The fastest land mammal is an endangered species

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Cheetah Facts

An Endangered Species
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Cheetah Facts

Appearance:
The cheetah's coat is covered by solid, black spots. A long, black line runs along the corner of each eye toward the mouth. Males measure between 6 and 7 feet long; females measure between 5 and 6 feet long. Excluding the tail, their length is between 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 feet. Males weigh between 110 and 140 pounds, while females weigh between 90 and 110 pounds. It's possible for a cheetah's weight to range anywhere between 75 and 145 pounds.

Life Span:
A wild cheetah's life span is said by some to be between 8 and 10 years; others say it's between 10 and 12 years.

Habitat:
Most cheetahs live in eastern and southern Africa, in open woodlands & open bush.

Social Behavior & Temperament:
Males live in coalitions, usual consisting of 2 to 4 brother cheetahs. Females live alone, except when raising cubs.

The cheetah is relatively gentle, and can easily be tamed by humans. Egyptians once kept cheetahs as pets. In the 16th Century, some members of royalty trained cheetahs to be hunting companions.

mother and cub
For great cheetah photos visit: The Lion Lady

Speed:
The cheetah can run up to 71 miles per hour. It takes as little as 2 seconds for the cheetah to reach 45 miles per hour.

Diet, Hunting, & Predators:
The cheetah's prey consists largely of gazelle, impala, and springbok. They also eat young wildebeest and small game such as hares and birds.

A cheetah hunts during the day. The cheetah creeps as close as possible to its prey, without being seen. Then it comes out from hiding, and using its incredible speed, attempts to outrun the animal. After successfully outrunning the animal, the cheetah suffocates it by clenching the animal's neck. Often lions and leopards will steal the cheetah's kill.

Predators of the cheetah include humans, lions, hyenas, & eagles.

For more cheetah facts visit: Cheetah Conservation Fund

 

April Loper
March 2, 2005