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CHEETAH


STATUS


Endangered

DESCRIPTION


The cheetah is the fastest land animal in the entire world. The cheetah is capable of running up to 70 miles per hour. It has a spotted coat, small head and ears and distinctive "tear drops" from the corner of the eyes down the sides of the nose which makes the cheetah very recognizable to the larger animals.

SIZE


The cheetah is smaller than other big cats, measuring 44 to 53 inches long with a tail length of 26 to 33 inches.

POPULATION


An estimated 9,000 to 12,000 cheetahs remain in the wild.

LIFESPAN


Cheetahs live an estimated life of 10 to 12 years.

RANGE


Once found throughout Africa and Asia, cheetahs are now confined to parts of eastern and southwestern Africa.

HABITAT


Cheetahs live in savannahs. But they have to be open or partially open.

FOOD


Cheetahs rely on a burst of speed to catch such a swift prey like gazelles, wildebeest calves, impalas and smaller hoofed animals, knocking their prey to the ground and give them a suffocating bite to the neck. They have to eat quickly because other carnivores would want to eat it.

BEHAVIOR


Females raise their cubs for about a year. Cheetahs hunt in the late mornings and early evenings. Chases last 20 to 60 seconds. But half of the kills are successful.

OFFSPRING


Mothers move cubs to new hiding places every few days to protect them from predators. At five to six weeks, cubs follow the mother and begin eating from her kills. Cubs stay with the mother for about a year.

THREATS


The future of the cheetah is doubtful because of increasing loss of habitat, declines in prey, high cub mortality rates and conflict with ranchers.

ENVIRONMENT


The cheetah is very territorial so if another cheetah comes into the territory then it could get pretty ugly. One thing that can help the cheetah run is its claws. Its claws are non-retractable so when the cheetah runs its claws dig into the ground like cleats helping it run.

PROBLEMS


The cheetah is endangered in 2 ways. First of all, the cheetah's habitat is being destroyed by humans. Then, there's always poaching. The cheetah is being poached for its beautiful coat.

SOLUTIONS


Zoos and federal parks are also doing their share by taking cheetahs into captivity. In the future, they will do the same thing by taking cheetahs into captivity, breeding them and releasing them back into the wild.