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Cheetah Facts for Kids: Cheetah Photos & Interesting Facts About Cheetahs

Updated on April 16, 2014

All About Cheetah

One of the most beautiful animals in the world today is the cheetah. It is a large feline or cat that lives in many areas of Africa, and also in the Middle East. Most people know that the cheetah is the fastest land animal on the earth, capable of running up to 75 mph. Also known for its beautiful spots that cover its entire body, it is very thin, with a long tail that ends with bushy white fur, and has extremely long legs.

Let's take a look at what cheetahs are all about and what makes them some of the most magnificent animals on the planet.

Habitat Of The Cheetah

Their natural habitat is mostly central to Africa, and even North Western Asia, but some have been spotted in Iran. It is able to thrive in areas where there is plenty of food, and they enjoy areas that are like a desert and prairie combined. Another country in Africa, Namibia, is an excellent location for the cheetah because it has dense vegetation, savannas, grasslands and some mountainous areas.

What Does A Cheetah Look Like?

Cheetah is looks like a large cat. It is very different from a lion in both the type of fur that it has, and also its slender appearance.

The fur is very short, which is helpful when running at high speeds. It also provides camouflage, making it easier for the cheetah to hunt its prey.

How Big Is Cheetah?

An adult cheetah can weigh between 50 pounds and 160 pounds once it has reached its full size. It can grow to be 5 feet long, not including the tail, which can also be an additional 3 feet in length. Cheetahs only stand about 2 or 3 feet high. The male cheetahs are typically taller than the females, and also have slightly bigger heads.

The Paws Of The Cheetah

Another unique part of the cheetah is the fact that it has semi-retractable claws. Only three other cats have these types of claws, and allow the cheetah to have a better chance of gripping its prey. However, the claws are always visible, ready to use on a seconds notice, especially during high speed pursuits.

Cheetah Characteristics

Each animal in the world will have one or two distinct advantages that allow it to hunt its prey. The two main advantages that the cheetah has over other animals in its natural habitat is its speed, and also its agility. Although having the ability to run quickly is useful for catching virtually anything that it wants to eat, it is the agility of the cheetah, its ability to move and compensate when attacking another animal, that allows it to not only stay alive, but also escape from predators that might come its way.

Sounds That The Cheetah Makes

In a similar way to smaller cats, especially domestic cats, cheetahs make a purring sound. They are the only large cat that is incapable of roaring, something that is found with lions, tigers and Jaguars.

Hunting Patterns Of The Cheetah

The cheetah is also similar to smaller cats in the way that it hunts for its prey. Larger cats typically hunt for their food in the evening hours, but cheetahs hunt for everything during the day. One of the reasons is because of their exceptional eyesight which is able to help them see animals up to 3 miles away. The only time a cheetah cannot capture its prey is when it is able to go in the trees. Unlike domestic cats, and some larger ones, it is unable to climb trees.

Designed For Offense Not Defense

There are many cats, large and small, that are able to defend themselves when they are attacked. If you think of a small domestic cat that stands ready to respond to an attacking dog, the cheetah is not able to do this. It is designed to be on the offense, not defense, and therefore if a larger animal comes after the prey it has captured, it will run instead of fight.

How Much Do Cheetahs Drink?

Unlike most animals that need to drink water on a regular basis, especially felines, the cheetah only needs to drink one time every four days. It is because of how its metabolism functions, allowing it to go long spans without any type of liquid to drink.

Natural Adaptations Of The Cheetah

The cheetah has adapted over many years to be able to hunt and live in Africa. It is able to run fast speeds for short distances because of the structure of its legs. It also has adapted by having larger nostrils than most cats, allowing it to increase its oxygen intake. The ability to take in more oxygen also allows it to run faster and longer than most other animals its size. The respiratory rate of the cheetah, or how fast that it breathes, is about 100 breaths per minute. This occurs at higher rates while it is chasing its prey, allowing it to sustain itself until the other animal has been captured.

Why Cheetahs Are Endangered

Cheetahs are becoming more endangered as mankind continues to encroach upon its habitat. More people are starting to live where the cheetah hunts, and more tourists are visiting these areas every year. This causes the cheetahs to lose precious hunting grounds, causing it to starve. Also, they are hunted for their fur by poachers, people that illegally hunt in these areas.

Hopefully this information on the cheetah will help you understand how wonderful this animal is. It is one of the most unique felines or cats in the world because of its ability to run fast, and the spotted patterns on its coat. Perhaps you should learn more about the cheetah, and what you can do to help protect this beautiful animal. As long as we are trying to help the cheetah survive, it should be here for many years to come.

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