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CheetahThe cheetah is most famous for its speed. It is the world's fastest land animal, having been known to run at speeds up to 70 mph. However, it is able to sustain this pace for only a short period of time. The cheetah is distinctly different from all other felids in both anatomy and behavior, and yet in many ways is the epitome of feline grace and speed. An elusive creature of the wide-open plains, open woodlands and brushlands, the cheetah often reaches speeds in excess of 65 miles per hour in short hunting bursts, but seldom pursues prey further that 500 yards.

Zoological name: Acinonyx jubatus

Species: Today only an estimated 200 of this sub-specie exist in small isolated groups scattered throughout Eastern Iran.The King Cheetah was once considered it own specie, however now it has been proven to be nothing more than a genetic mutation. King Cheetah originated from Central Africa, where they were used for hunting. These Cheetah were part of a breeding program to acquire genetic mutations, such as fur patterns, size, and rare and unusual color forms, with no regard to the genetic integrity of the specie. This African Cheetah can only be found naturally in Zimbabwe and South Africa Transvaal Province providing that both of the parents carry the recessive gene.

Cheetah Physical appearance: The cheetah has a slender, long-legged body with blunt semi-retractable claws. Its coat is tan with small, round, black spots, and the fur is coarse and short. The cheetah has a small head with high-set eyes. Black "tear marks", which run from the corner of its eyes down the sides of the nose to its mouth, keep the sun out of its eyes and aid in hunting.

Size: Adult body length 112-135cm; tail length 66-84cm; shoulder height 73+cm; weight 34-54kg. The male is slightly larger than the female.

Presence on the planet: The Cheetah was once widely distributed throughout Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Asia Minor, and even East of India. Fossils were recorded to be found from China, Northern India, Southern Europe, and as far as the Western United States. Sadly now the specie is burning out and can be found sparsely scattered amongst Namibia, Kenya, Asia, as well as a handful of other small countries.

Habitat: Cheetahs thrive in areas with vast expanses of land where prey is abundant. In Namibia cheetahs have been found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands,savannahs, dense vegetation, and mountainous terrain. Ninety-five percent live on commercial farms.

Diet: The cheetah eats gazelles, young antelope, young calves, warthogs, hares, and game birds. They typically stalk their prey until they are only 30 to 90 feet away. They then burst into a chase that lasts about 20 seconds. The cheetah successfully catches its prey in about half of the chases.

Reproduction & Offspring: : Unlike most cats, cheetahs breed throughout the year without a regular breeding season. After a period of 90 to 95 days, a litter of 1 to 8 cubs will be born. The average litter is 4 or 5 cubs. The cubs weigh about half a pound, have no teeth, and their eyes are closed. They also have a blue-gray mane on their backs, aiding in camouflage. Males to not take part in raising the cubs. The mother raises them on her own.

Cheetah Conservation status:Population estimates vary from 2,000 to 15,000. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) classifies the cheetah as vunerable, with the African sub-species as endangered and the Asiatic sub-species as critically endangered. The cheetah is listed as endangered and is on Appendix 1 of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).

Life span: 10-15 years
The spotted mystery !

The word "Cheetah" is derived from the Hindi word "Chita" meaning "spotted one". The Cheetah is the fastest land animal reaching speeds of 45 - 70 mph. Cheetahs have also been known to swim, although they do not like to. The Cheetah is not one of the Great Cats, because it does not have a floating Hyoid bone in its neck it can not roar, therefore it is a Lesser Cat. Cheetahs have been considered through out history to be a sleek and beautiful cat.s

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