The cheetah is the world’s fast mammal on land. The spotted cat is native to Africa and central Iran and is known to reach up to 112 km per hour in just 3 seconds. The body of the cheetah has evolved for speed, with long legs, an elongated spine, and a long tail for balance. Most of the cheetahs in the wild are found in the sub-African Sahara and a small population is found in Iran. Even though they’re the fastest land animal, cheetahs are not known for their stamina as they tire easily. Most cheetahs are only active 12% of the time of the day and only accelerate their speed when they’ve spotted prey.
All You Need To Know About The Fastest Land Mammal- Cheetah!
- Physical Characteristics of Cheetah
Cheetah’s body works like a machine, everything from its fur to its tail serves to help it in hunting its prey. Let’s take a close look at how his physical characteristics help it in surviving in the wild. Each body part serves a special purpose that helps it chase its prey with great agility and focus.
A cheetah has a flat-shaped muscular tail that acts like a rudder. Its tail helps it control the steering and also balance its weight while running fast.
Cheetahs have hard paws, unlike other cats who have soft paws. Their semi-non-retractable claws help them maintain a tight grip on the ground when they’re running swiftly.
You might have noticed the long black lines along Cheetah’s eyes that run across its mouth. These tear marks act like sun glare protection and help them stay focused on their prey while they hunt.
The black spots that you see on a cheetah come from their skin. The black fur grows out of the black spots on their skin.
Cheetah cubs have long hairs that run from their neck to their tail and are called the mantle. Their long mantle makes them blend in with their surroundings and grant protection from predators like hyenas and tigers.
Unlike other big cats, cheetahs have weak jaws and smaller canine teeth. Their teeth are not their strongest defense weapons as they often find it hard to protect their hunted prey from other larger predators.
2. Interesting Facts About Cheetahs
- Unlike other big cats like lions and tigers, cheetahs don’t roar, they chirp, purr and meow. When faced with danger, they growl. When communicating with each other, cheetahs bark.
- The cheetah gets its name from the Sanskrit word “chitraka” meaning the spotted one.
- To avoid competition from other big cats like leopards and lions, cheetahs hunt during the day.
- Their exceptional eyesight helps them to spot their prey from afar. Cheetahs stalk and chase their prey before knocking it down. They kill their prey with a bite to the throat.
- Cheetahs can see appropriately with full details up to 3 miles, however, they do not have special night vision.
- Cheetahs are social animals that live in groups. A group of male cheetahs sometimes live and hunt together. A mother cheetah and young cubs also live together.
- The average lifespan of the cheetah is up to 14 years in the wild and 20 years in captivity.
- Cheetahs can survive without water for up to 10 days! They only need to drink water once every 2-4 days.
- Cheetahs are racing towards extinction and are classified as ‘Vulnerable’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.
Cheetahs are hunted for their skin which puts them at risk of extinction. Destruction of their habitat and climate change are also contributing factors that are leading to their extinction.
Also check out, #AnimalKingdom: Cheetah- The Fastest Mammal on Land