Latin Name: Acinonyx jubatus
African Names: Dume (Swahili), Nkonkoni (Zulu), Didigwe (Shona), Letl˘tse (Tswana)
Height: Cheetahs average height is 35 inches. Cheetahs are 45 inches to 53 inches long and their tail can measure up to 33 inches in length.
Average Adult Weight: Cheetahs weigh anywhere from 88 pounds to 140 pounds.
Life Span: 12 years in the wild and 20 years in captivity.
Description: Cheetahs have a deep chest and narrow waist. Their fur is spotted, even their tail is spotted. They have a white belly and black tear-stained face which helps keep the sun out of their eyes. Some cheetahs have a mutated spot pattern with larger spots that are blotchy and merged. These cheetahs are known as "king cheetahs".
Habitat: Savannas, both open and more densely vegetated. They are not found in forest areas or wetlands.
Countries found in: Found primarily in Africa. Cheetahs were at one time found across Asia and most of Africa. The heaviest concentrations of the cheetah population can be found in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia, Angola, and The Democratic Repubic of the Congo.
Babies: Gestation period of 90 to 98 days. Female cheetahs can have up to 9 cubs at a time. The average litter size is 3 to 5 cubs. The cheetah hit a genetic bottleneck, due to excessive inbreeding, about 10,000 years ago and all modern cheetahs are descended from a core 18 cheetahs making successful reproduction difficult.
Food: Cheetahs hunt mostly mammals under 88 pounds including gazelles, springbok, impala, guineafowl, and hares. Cheetahs will also hunt younger wildebeests and zebras. Cheetahs are diurnal hunters and hunt by sight rather than by smell.
Group Name: Coalition
Endangered: Yes, vulnerable
Interesting Facts: Cheetahs are the fastest land animal reaching speeds of up to 75 miles per hour.
They can accelerate from 0 to 68 miles per hour in just 3 seconds.
Cheetahs have semi-retractable claws.
The cheetah is the only "big cat" that cannot roar, but can purr. Other "big cats" can roar, but not purr.
Cheetahs use their tails to steer while they are running - much like a rudder on a boat.