Cheetahs - Cats
The members of the cat family, Cheetahs are considered the fastest terrestrial mammals in the world. However, Cheetahs cannot run for a long time. The species can run as fast as 58 mph for just a few seconds covering about 1,000 feet. Earlier, Cheetahs were well distributed on vast territories including North America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. The fossil found on the territory of the modern United States is considered the oldest one and confirms the former distribution and perhaps the origin of the species.
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Cheetah Expedition Journal
With time, the population of Cheetahs was reduced greatly. Due to human expansion, the original habitats of the species were restricted to a small fraction of their former habitat. Hunting also contributed to the species destruction. Cheetah pelts were considered the symbol of wealth and were hunted extensively. Besides, the species became accused of hunting domestic stock. The question of whether it is true or not has not been answered thus far for sure. However, hunting this wild cat turned out to be detrimental for the species.
Cheetahs - Cats - Factsheet
Scientific Name: Acinonyx jubatus
Conservation Status: From vulnerable to critically endangered depending on the area and subspecies.
Average Litter Size: 4-6 cubs.
Threats: Natural predators such as the lion, hyena, leopard, and wild dogs. Also suffers from habitat loss and hunting.
Life Span: About 12 years in the wild.
Cheetahs - Cats - Description
Cheetah appearance is said to have predetermined the name of the species. The Hindu word "chita" translates as the "spotted one." Indeed, the species has remarkable spots all over the body. They vary in size and are usually round or oval. The background coat color is light brown to tawny yellow. There are also distinctive rings at the tail of the Cheetah. These unique rings help to distinguish between the species.
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Sometimes, Cheetahs have more of a blotchy coat. This is due to recessive genes in the parents. Earlier, it was believed that such animals are a subspecies. As it turned out, such Cheetahs can be born in a normal litter and are not a separate subspecies. It should be said that Cheetahs with more of a blotchy coat are rare.
As for the size, male Cheetahs are generally bigger than females. An adult Cheetah weighs about 86-143 lbs. Cheetahs are slim and have long legs. The length of the body reaches 44-55 inches. The tail is about 24-31 inches in length.
Cheetahs - Cats - Special Adaptations
Cheetahs make good hunters and can develop a great speed. For that, they have a number of special adaptations. Long legs and an elongated spine are instrumental in stretching and enable the species to increase the stride length. The tail serves as a rudder. Large nasal passages, lungs, and heart provide for a rapid physical response. Besides, Cheetahs have tearstain in the eyes that minimize the sun glare.
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Cheetah food is mostly wild animals; a baby photo shows just how cute and rambunctious they are.