The cheetah is considered to be one of the large cats that is known for its speed more than its stealth. However, compared to other large cats, the cheetah is small in size. It is believed that the cheetah is the fastest animal in the world. The cheetah's name is synonymous with speed.
The body of a cheetah is adapted for speed. It has a slim body, which narrow at the waist. The chest is deep and the legs are long. However, the most distinctive feature about the cheetah is its coat. The coat is rough and short and comprises of black spots. There are no spots present on the chest and belly, and the coat there is white in color.Â The coloring of the coat allows the cheetah to camouflage itself in the vegetation when it is preying on animals. The cheetah has tear marks running from its eyes until its mouth. These marking protect the eyes of the cheetah from the glare of the sun, and this feature is very useful when it is stalking animals. (See Reference 1)
According to paleontologists, the cheetah evolved around 7.5 to 26 million years ago in Africa and from there it made its way to Asia. The length of a cheetah's body can vary from 110 centimeters to 135 centimeters. Its long tail can reach a length of around 84 centimeters. The tail acts as a rudder when the cheetah is running and this helps it change it directions in case the prey also changes its directions. (See Reference 1)
The cheetah is known to have large nostrils and these facilitate more intake of oxygen when the cheetah is running. In addition, the heart and lungs of the cheetah are bigger than other large cats. All these anatomical features help the cheetah to attain great speed. A cheetah has the ability to reach a speed of 100 kilometers an hour and it can maintain this speed for short distance of 450 meters. It can reach from zero to 100 kilometers an hour speed within a span of 3 seconds. (See Reference 1)
Unlike other big cats, the cheetah does not have the ability to roar. However, it can purr, yip, growl, chur and yowl. (See Reference 1)
The average life expectancy of a cheetah in the wild is around 12 years, while in captivity it fairs much better; it can live for up to 20 years. In the wild, the cheetah preys mostly on gazelles, impalas, wildebeests and their calves. It is also known to prey on rabbits and guinea fowls. (See Reference 1)
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