Fascinating Facts About Cheetah

In the wild, speed is crucial for survival. But speed is not a problem for a Cheetah, which is the fastest land animal in the world. Globally, Cheetahs are famed for their running prowess and strength. Aside from their speed, there are more admirable facts that you should know about this big wild cat.

Read further to know more about Cheetahs!

What is the Cheetah?

A Cheetah, or also known as Acinonyx jubatus, is a huge cat that’s endemic to the African continent. Armed with unparalleled speed, this animal is deemed to be the fastest land animal in the world. It can run for as fast as 80 to 128 km/h. Back in the day, Cheetahs were called “hunting leopards” because they can be tamed and used as hunting companions.

Cheetahs are mainly found in sub-Saharan Africa, while a few only reside in the northern region of the African continent. Though they don’t have the strength and size of a lion to hunt larger animals, Cheetahs are incredible, smart hunters. They have learned that they can bring down large prey like an ostrich, which is more than twice its size through working together.

This species is highly depicted in literature, advertising, animation, and art due to its excellent speed and strength. In 2016, it was recorded that the cheetah population stands at approximately 7,100 individuals. For this reason, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorized the species as “Vulnerable.”

The Cheetah’s nine levels of scientific classification are as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Suborder: Feliformia

Family: Felidae

Subfamily: Felinae

Genus: Acinonyx

Species: A. jubatus

Physical description of a Cheetah

It’s not very hard to spot a cheetah in the wild. Compared to other cats, a Cheetah is slim, but it has very long legs, a rounded head, short snout, and short ears. Its slender and light built accommodate its very fast speed. Its head-and-boy length is between 3.6 to 4.9 ft, while its shoulder length is 67 to 94 cm. It weighs between 20 to 65 kg. Tail length ranges from 60 to 80 cm.

The Cheetah’s most notable features include its pale-yellow skin and specks of black spots that are drawn closer together. It possesses a slight mane at the nape. Its face is marked with black lachrymal stripes called “tear lines” that starts from the corner of its eyes down to its mouth. Tear lines defend the Cheetah’s eyes from the sun’s harmful rays and allow its eyes to scan long distances.

A male Cheetah is relatively larger than a female one. Each Cheetah has a distinct pattern. The only parts of its body that have no markings include the chin, underparts, and throat.

Cheetah’s distribution and habitat

Cheetahs are distributed in eastern and southern Africa. Cheetahs are seen in Kalahari, Serengeti. In northern, central, and western Africa, Cheetahs are often found in mountain ranges and valleys. Those who are inhabiting in Sahara prefer high mountains, where rainfall is more likely to happen. In general, these animals prefer arid to semi-arid regions.

Back in the day, Cheetahs are present in Africa, Europe, and Asia. Today, Cheetahs are only found in the African continent, and only a few can be found in Iranian deserts.

Cheetah’s Behavior and Communication

Like most cat species, territorial male Cheetahs mark their territories with urine, feces, or by raking the ground with their paws. They use a variety of sounds while communicating with each other. Each sound delivers a specific meaning. Here are some of the most common vocalizations that were observed from them:

Chirp – A Cheetah chirps when it’s excited or if it is calling other Cheetahs to gather around a prey. On the other hand, a female Cheetah would chirp to find a lost cub.

Churr – A staccato call that resembles the roar of a lion. A Cheetah omits this sound when it’s contented and satisfied.

Purr – A Cheetah purrs when it greets another of its kind. Usually, Cheetahs purr when they groom each other.

Cheetah’s diet

This mammal is a carnivore that feeds on other mammals such as impalas, gazelles, chinkaras, wild goats, and ungulates. A Cheetah also feeds on small animals such as birds and hares.

Fun facts about Cheetahs

Did you know that Cheetahs can make a lot of sounds except roaring? They are the only big cat that does not know how to roar!

Additionally, Cheetahs are not an active threat to humans. There are no existing records of cheetahs killing human beings.