The world's FASTEST land mammal.
Cheetahs run quick short bursts up to 70 mph (113km/hr).
Reaching 45 mph is just 2 seconds.
How do cheetahs run so FAST?
Long Flat Tails
A long tall helps them balance and steer their bodies when running. Their tails are flat and act like a rudder on a boat because it helps direct them and keeps them from spinning out of control when running.
A spring-like backbone helps cheetahs burst forward and it is flexible so it can move easily when running to catch its prey.
Long Powerful Legs
Their long very powerful legs can cover up to 20 feet in one stride helping them gain speed quickly. These powerful legs help them change directions faster than any other land animal.
Lean Muscular Bodies
Their lean muscular bodies help them move quickly and fast.
Semi-retractable claws (similar to claws on dogs) give cheetahs the ability to grip the hard ground. They also have hard pads with ridges on the bottom of their paws that help provide traction with better gripping and less slipping.
Their narrow head helps them move through the air (aerodynamics) easier. This reduces the amount of drag or wind resistance that could slow them down when running.
Bigger Inner Ear Canals
Cheetahs' bigger inner ear canals allow them to keep their heads steady and solid during running. This helps them keep their eyes steady on the prey they are chasing and aids in their ability to successfully catch food.
Cheetahs have larger nostrils that allow for lots more air to flow into their noses and lungs. This helps support their bodies while running.
An enlarged heart can push (circulate) more blood through the body. Heart and lungs work together to push oxygen through their blood quicker.
Larger Lung Capacity
Larger lung capacity means cheetahs can breathe a lot bigger and deeper to support their quickness while running.
When the cheetah runs at one point during its long stride, ALL four legs of a cheetah are OFF the ground.
Looks like it could be flying!
Population: Approximately 3,600
Countries: Found in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa
2. East African CheetahScientific Name: Acinonyx jubatus raineyi
Population: Approximately 2,000
Characteristics: Shorter coat, leaner body
Countries: Found in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda & Somalia
3. Central African or Sudan Cheetah Scientific Name: Acinonyx jubatus soemmerinaiiPopulation: Approximately 800
Characteristics: Darker colored with thick fur, white stomach, no spots on read legs, thick tail, larger head
Countries: Sudan, Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria,
Chad Ethiopis & Central Africa Republic
4. North African or Sahara CheetahScientific Name: Acinonyx jubatus hecki
Population: Less than 250
Characteristics: Lighter colored coat, Fewer spots on face, Tear stripes missing sometimes, Smaller build.
Countries: Found in Saharan desert & parts of the Sahel
5. Asiatic CheetahScientific Name: Acinonyx jubatus venaticus
Population: Less than 50
Characteristics: Neck fur is thicker, Shorter coat
Countries: Found only in Iran
Reference: Cheetah Conservation Fund, 2016