Animals / Mammal Facts / Cats – Felidae, Ideal Predator Bodies / Cheetah - World's Fastest Runner

Cheetah - World's Fastest Runner



Nature's best sprinter, the cheetah is a large feline that can be found in the grasslands, plains, savannahs, and deserts of Africa and parts of the Middle East. The cheetah is recognizable by its spotted fur, a trait which thanks to generations of inbreeding, has very little variation from specimen to specimen (in fact, cheetah to cheetah skin-grafts are almost never rejected because of the near non-existent genetic variation).





The cat is mostly known for its role as the fastest living animal on the planet. Reaching speeds of up to 70 to 75 mph (112 to 120 km/h) in short bursts, the cheetah can go from 0 to 60 mph (100 km/h) in under three seconds. It can also turn and change direction at these speeds. However, these speeds are very stressful on the cheetah's body, often leading to it having to rest for up to thirty minutes after a sprint and sometimes it can start to overheat after running just 10 seconds. The cheetah uses this speed; aided by its semi-retractable claws (the fact that they don't retract allows for more traction), large nostrils and lungs (for greater air intake, it can take up to 150 breathes per minute), and rudder-like tail to capture prey like antelope, impala, gazelle, springbok, wildebeasts, zebras, hares, and guineafowl; which they hunt by sight rather than smell.




Adult cheetahs weigh between 77 and 160 pounds (35 to 72 kilograms), and have lengths between 43 and 59 inches (110 to 150 centimeters); making it one of the smallest of the big cats. Unlike most other big cats, the cheetah can purr, but not roar.


mother cubs




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