Scientific Classification

Class Mammalia
Order Carnivora
Suborder Feliformia
Family Felidae
Subfamily Felinae
Genus   Acinonyx  
Scientific Name Acinonyx jubatus
cheetah
Cheetah running ©Greg Wilson

Other Names

Hunting leopard

Cheetah Description

  • Cheetah is the fastest living land animal on earth.
  • It is slightly taller than the leopard.
  • The cheetah is active during day.
  • It is much shorter than the lion.
  • Cheetahs and leopards are often confused with each other.
  • Cheetahs go after the prey when they are within 100–300 m (330–980 ft).
  • They can maintain their top speed for 100 – 500 meters.
  • They increase their speeds by 10 km/h (6 mph) in a single stride.
  • There are 2,000 black spots on cheetah’s coat.
  • Unlike other big cats cheetahs have the narrowest range of prey.

Size & Weight

Adults:

  • HEAD-BODY-LENGTH: 112–150 cm (44–59 in)
  • WEIGHT: 21–72 kilograms (46–159 lb)
  • TAIL: 60–80 cm (24–31 in)
  • SHOULDER HEIGHT: 70 to 90 cm (28 to 35 in)
  • SPOT WIDTH (on coat): 2–5.1 cm (1.3–2.0 in)

Newborns

  • WEIGHT: 150–400 g (5.3–14.1 oz)
cheetah
Cheetah with its kill ©www.ehowzit.co.za

Habitat

Grasslands, dry forests, savannahs, scrub forests; elevation 4,000 m (13,000 ft)

Subspecies

Range

South Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Namibia, southern Zambia, Zimbabwe, south-western Mozambique, northern South Africa, Botswana, south-western Angola

Diet

Bat-eared fox, bushbuck, kudu, hartebeest, nyala, oribi, roan antelope, steenbok, chinkara, desert hare, goitered gazelle, ibex, rodents, wild sheep, Thomson’s gazelle (90%), springbok, impala, duiker, reedbuck, blesbok, Grant’s gazelle, African buffalo, gemsbok, giraffe, ostrich, warthog, wildebeest, zebra, guineafowl, cane rats, bustards, mole rats, Cape foxes, caracals, jackals

Reproduction

1 – 8 cubs

Mating Period

All year-round

Gestation Period

90 days

Weaning Period

180 days

Sexual Maturity

21 – 22 months (Females)

Population

6,700

Lifespan

  • 10 years (Males)
  • 14 – 15 years (Females)

Speed

  • TOP: 112 km/h (70 mph)
  • AVERAGE: 64 km/h (40 mph)
  • WALKING: 3–4 km/h (1.9–2.5 mph)

Baby Name

Cubs

Home Range

(Males)

  • (Avg.) 33 to 42 sq. km (13 to 16 sq mi)
  • (Max.) 777 sq. km (300 sq mi)

(Females)

  • 100–200 sq. km (39–77 sq mi)

Group Name

Herd

Predators

Wild dogs, spotted hyenas, eagles, lions, brown hyenas

Call

Growling, hissing, moaning, yowling, chirping, churring, whirring

Group Size

2 – 3 individuals

Behavior

Diurnal, not territorial

Conservation Status

Vulnerable