The Cheetah (derived from Sanskrit word Chitraka meaning “Speckled”) (Acinonyx jubatus) is an atypical member of the cat family (Felidae), a poor climber that hunts by speed rather than by stealth. As such, it is placed in its own genus, Acinonyx. It is the fastest of all land animals and can reach speeds of up to 70 mph (110 km/h) in short bursts up to 500 yards (460 m), as well as being able to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (~62 mph) in 3.5 seconds – faster than some supercars.
The Cheetah has a slender, long-legged body with blunt semi-retractile claws. Its chest is deep and its waist is narrow. Its coat is tan with small, round, black spots, and the fur is coarse and short. The Cheetah has a small head with high-set eyes. Black “tear marks” run from the corner of its eyes down the sides of the nose to its mouth to keep sunlight out of its eyes and to aid in hunting and seeing long distances.
The adult animal weighs from 40 to 65 kg (90 to 140 lb). Its total body length is from 112 to 135 cm (45 in to 55 in), while the tail can measure up to 84 cm (33 in). Males are slightly larger than females and have a slightly bigger head, but it is difficult to tell males and females apart by appearance alone. More…
Bursts of high speed give the cheetah a great advantage as a predator. A cheetah hunts gazelles, impala, wildebeest, and other animals that all know how to move fast. If the cheetah wants to survive, it needs to be even faster. If the cheetah catches dinner she’ll hide it away, but sometimes her prey gets away, or even TAKEN away by vultures and other carnivores. After all that running, a cheetah gets so tired, she won’t be able to hunt again until the next day.
Cheetah moms chirp to their cubs! Cheetah cubs have a grayish puffy mane of three-inch hair until they are three months old that makes them look much bigger than they are. These playful babies get into lots of trouble, so looking bigger to a predator comes in handy.
Male cheetahs will defend a home territory in groups. Female cheetahs, on the other hand, usually live a solitary life, and like the freedom of being off on their own with their cubs.
When the sun rises, all the meerkats will come out of their burrow to stand up and catch some rays! More..