Reaching speeds up to 60 miles (96 kilometers) per hour, cheetahs are the fastest land animal. However, running at this speed requires a lot of energy, and the cheetah cannot keep up a sprint for long.
"For a [female] cheetah the real danger is not losing a kill but losing her cubs. Ninety-five percent of cheetah cubs die before reaching independence. Hyenas kill them out of hunger, lions apparently out of bad habit. ... Female cheetahs deal with the threat by constantly moving, preferably before their rivals even know they're around. They coexist as phantom species, slipping into temporary vacancies between prides of lions and packs of hyenas."
Unlike most African predators, cheetahs hunt during the daytime. When they spot prey, they can accelerate faster than most cars: from 0 to 60 miles (96 kilometers) an hour in only three seconds.
Cheetah mothers typically give birth to a litter of three cubs, all of which will stay with her for one and a half to two years before venturing off on their own. When interacting with her cubs, cheetah mothers purr, just like domestic cats.
Photo Gallery: Cheetahs
Sharp eyesight and raw speed (faster than any other land mammal) make the cheetah a formidable hunter.
> About African Cheetahs - The cheetah is an amazing African animal. It is a popular and well known animal by many, due to its characteristics. They are found mostly in Saharan Africa, south of the Sahara desert. They hunt in packs, and usually dominate a territory of about 35 square kilometres.
It gets its name from a Hindi word meaning "spotted animal". This amazing animal is covered in spots (apart from the throat and abdomen area). They have a small head, almost disproportionate to the size of their body. They weigh about 50 kilograms on average, with males weighing more and being slightly larger than females. They stand at about 80 centimetres tall, and about 1.3 metres long. Their tail measures in at about 75 centimetres.
Did you know?: Cheetahs often get confused with leopards. One way to distinguish is to check for the tear mark. Cheetahs have a tear mark on their face, while leopards do not. A tear mark is the black fur leading from the eyes down to the mouth.
Amazing Fact: The cheetah is the fastest land animal, they can bound at speeds of up to 113 km/h !
The cheetah is a carnivore, and therefore eats small animals. They have keen eyesight, and use this primarily when hunting. They stay almost camoflouged in grass, or climb a tree and scan for their prey. They then chase their prey at speeds of up to 80 km/h. If the animal is small, such as a hare, the cheetah will simply maul the hare to death, but if it is larger, the cheetah will go for the throat, and block the windpipe until the animal stops breathing.
Being cats, cheetahs can purr and growl. They can also bark and hiss, but they do not roar like a lion.
Amazing Fact: Cheetah's accelerate from 0-70 km/h in under 2 seconds.
Cheetah's have a gestation period of between 90 to 95 days with 2 to 4 cubs born. After 6 weeks, the cub leaves their den, and is strong enough to join hunts with the pack. When they are 6 months old, the mother is known to capture live prey and for the cub to practice its kill technique. The cub continues to live with mother for a further year learning hunting skills and survival techniques.
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