This year I started athletics. My favourite event is the 800 metres and I like running as fast as I can. This post is about cheetahs and is the first of a series of four about animals that are very fast.
Here are five interesting facts about them:
- These beautiful cats grow to 135 cm long plus an 85 cm tail.
- As everyone knows, cheetahs are the fastest animal on land, reaching a top speed of up to 120 km per hour in short bursts. They can go from 0-100 kph in just 3 seconds. They are perfectly designed for running fast, with long legs, a thin body and a flexible spine. They are also unlike most cats as their claws can’t retract, which helps them to dig their claws into the ground when sprinting. Their tail also helps them to balance when changing direction at high speed.
- They use their speed to catch small gazelles, impalas, guineafowl, hares and ostriches. Sometimes, males hunt together to catch wildebeest and zebras. They mostly hunt during the day, often using their front paws to trip their prey before jumping on them to grab them around the throat. Cheetahs have eyes at the front of their head and gazelles on the side which means that their prey often can’t see straight ahead, running into trees at high speed and helping cheetahs to catch them.
- As they are quite small, cheetahs have to eat their food quickly as much larger carnivores, such as lions and spotted hyenas will chase them away from their kills if they get the chance.
- They are found in savannah and semi-deserts throughout central and southern Africa. There is also a very small population left in Iran. They are considered vulnerable to extinction due to loss of habitat, a reduction in prey and hunting.
I hope that you found these facts interesting and learned something new.
Are there any other interesting facts that you would like to share about cheetahs?