The cheetah’s habitat
Most cheetahs are found in Africa and Western Asia. There is even a small population of this feline in Iran. It moves easily over extensive open terrain, like meadows and the savanna. The reason why it needs a large expanse of land is to chase its prey.
What speed can a cheetah reach?
This animal, which belongs to the felidae, or cat, family, is the fastest land mammal in the world. It’s able to run at more than 60 miles per hour for 10 to 20 seconds. Its anatomy allows it to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just three seconds. As its anatomy is designed to reach great speeds, its tail is important. Its purpose is to ensure balance and quick changes in direction during its runs.
The cheetah’s diet
Although it’s the fastest land mammal, the way it hunts leaves it vulnerable. It starts by stalking its prey (normally antelopes, gazelle, zebras, and gnus) until the time comes to make its move. After it catches its prey, it strangulates it until it dies. However, the cheetah does not eat its prey immediately. After finishing the chase, they’re exhausted and can need up to an hour to recover. This is when other predators can take advantage and steal the prey. To prevent this, the cheetah eats a lot of food very fast. it can eat up to 22 pounds of meat in a single sitting.
Fun facts about this cat
Although it may seem difficult to discern the differences between cheetahs and leopards, in reality, they’re very different species. In fact, a curiosity that few people know and that’s difficult to imagine is that its closest relatives are the puma (Puma concolor) and the jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi).
Its spots, one of the quintessential characteristics of the cheetah, also hide a secret. When they are cubs, they are born with hardly any, and then they progressively appear.
Unlike other felines, the cheetah cannot roar. However, it can make growling and purring sounds, which help it communicate with others in the pack without revealing its location or that of its cubs.
Other types of leopards
There are currently five subspecies of the Acinonyx jubatus cheetah.
The first is the Northwest African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus hecki). According to the IUCN, it’s a critically endangered species. In fact, it’s believed that the number of mature individuals is below 250. Those that are left live in Northwestern Africa.
Also found in Africa is the Southeast African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus), considered to be the most common subspecies. The last available data is from 2007, which calculated that there are 4,190 individuals in this subspecies.
The Tanzanian cheetah, or East African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus raineyi) lives in East Africa. It is not known whether it lives on the savannas of western Africa.
In the northeastern area, you can find the Northeast African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii), specifically in the savannas east of Sudan.
The Asiatic cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) is the rarest of all subspecies of cheetah. Like the Northwest African cheetah, it’s also a critically endangered species. It can only be found in the Iranian desert.