The word “cheetah” comes from the Sanskrit word “citrakayah” meaning spotted. The cheetah is the world’s fastest mammal on land.
Characteristics of a Cheetah
A Cheetah purrs and does not say grr. A cheetah can weigh anywhere from thirty nine to sixty kilograms. They measure from 44 to 53 inches in length. But its tail is about 33 inches long. The tail acts like a boat’s rudder, controlling and guiding their direction, when running. They have over 3000 rounded black spots on their tan colored body. They have a very flexible spine with a small head. They have tear stains which is a black line extending from the eyes to the nose. They live for over 10 years.
The cheetah is the world’s fastest mammal on land. The cheetah can increase his speed from 0 to 100 km/hr in just a few seconds. They can cover 25 kilometers with one step. They have non retractable claws which aids in running. When they run, they have one foot on the ground, at one time. They have a strong heart combined with huge flaring nostrils, which pumps more oxygen into the lungs.
But this energy to sprint fast stays for half a minute only. They stealthily approach the prey, and only chase after it, when they are very close to it, and know they can catch it immediately. Their spotted body easily hides in the tall grasses of the plains. They use their front paws to catch and strangle the prey, before quickly dragging it away to a hiding spot; before other large animals see it. Then they wait for thirty minutes to rest before devouring the animal. They eat zebras, antelopes and hares.
When do they hunt?
Cheetahs hunt during the day unlike the lion and the tiger. They have very strong eyesight and can spot a prey from five kilometers away. But they have very poor night vision. They do not have sharp claws to fight, so they give up their prey in a battle with a more ferocious animal.
Where are they found?
They are found mostly in the greenery of Africa and in some parts of Iran. From 100,000 cheetahs in the 1900s, the cheetah is now becoming an extinct animal with a mere population of 10,000.
7 Interesting Facts about Cheetah
- They drink after every four days.
- There are larger cats than a cheetah. They cannot climb trees like other cats.
- Cheetahs chirp like birds when communicating with each other.
- Male cheetahs stay with other males. They only mix with females during mating. The male cheetahs also leave their mark by scratching a tree.
- Female cheetahs give birth to three cubs at a time. The baby cubs have a grayish yellow coat, which protects them from sun and rain; and helps in hiding. They start hunting around 6 weeks. Their mother leaves them at 2 years and then they stay together to fend for themselves.
- In Ancient Egypt, Cheetahs were kept as pets and helped in hunting. They have been in existence since 3000 BC, when the earliest civilization had been discovered. Akbar, the great Mughal Emperor, had trained 1000 cheetahs to hunt. Fossils show cheetahs lived a few million years ago. Tutankhamen’s tomb contained a cheetah’s remains in Egypt.
- They are found mostly in the greenery of Africa and in some parts of Iran. From 100,000 cheetahs in the 1900s, the cheetah is now becoming an extinct animal with a mere population of 10,000.