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Cheetah Facts

Cheetahs are a member of the big cat family and can survive in a variety of areas from grasslands to deserts and scrublands.

The largest population of cheetahs today is in the Southwestern African country of Namibia.

Cheetah Facts for Kids

  • The African cheetah is known for being the fastest land animal on the globe. The top speed of a cheetah is around 113 km per hour.
  • A cheetah’s body is designed for fast acceleration. In just a few seconds, they can go from 0 to 113 km. This ability is excellent for hunting prey.
  • While cheetahs may be fast, they can get tired very quickly. They only have the ability to keep a top speed for a few minutes and then they get tired.
  • Cheetahs are a member of the big cat family, but they are actually the smallest members. The average weight of a cheetah is only from 45 to 60 kg.
  • Many people recognize the cheetah by its longer and more streamlined body style.
  • A cheetah can also be recognized by looking for long black lines that are found in the inside of each eye and run down to the mouth. These are referred to as ‘tear lines’ and are believed to help protect the eyes from the harsh and bright sunlight that is found in their habit, so that they can see for great distances.
  • Most people think that when you see a big cat, you would expect to hear a roar. Cheetahs do not have the ability to roar, although they can purr loudly, especially when they are near other cheetahs or grooming.
  • Many of the big cats hunt at night, but the cheetah is a day hunter.
  • The cheetah’s eyesight is so keen that it can see potential prey that is as far as 5 km.

Baby Cheetah

What is a baby cheetah called?

A baby cheetah is called a cub when they are born, they are helpless and blind.

A female cheetah will give birth to between 1-8 cubs. But unfortunately, they don’t all make it.

The cheetah cub will weigh between 500-600 grams, approximately, which is relatively small.

What do baby cubs look like at birth?

Their coat is called a mantle and is thick, long, and grey to help keep them camouflaged against any predator.

The mantle also ensures that they are protected against the various climate changes that happen in the first couple of weeks and months, such as rain, wind, and sun.

What sounds do young cheetahs make?

Cheetahs make growling and purring sounds when they are happy and content. If they are in an antagonistic position, this can turn into hissing, moans, growls, and even spitting.

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If this situation is aggressive and escalates, a cheetah will crouch down and start to moan, which is then followed by hissing and growling.

Cheetah sounds can be better divided into three different groups:

  • Pulsed sounds – “chirrs”, “churtlings”, “”gargles”, “growling”, “gurgling”, “purring”, and pr-prs.”
  • Tonal sounds – “chirping,” “howling,” and “yelping.”
  • Noisy sounds – “hissing.”

An “explosive yelp” from a male cheetah can be heard from just over a mile away

What do you call a group of cheetahs?

A group of cheetahs is called a “coalition.”

What is a king cheetah?

The king cheetah is said to be one of the rarest animals in the world. Not many have been seen in the wild in the past few decades.

Many people and experts believed that it was a different species from the African cheetah. However, it’s the exact same, only it has a mutated fur pattern.

Usually, they have small black dots on their bodies. But, the King has larger dark irregular patterns and splotches. Many have been seen with a black stripe going down their backs.

What do Cheetahs Eat?

Cheetahs hunt in the early morning and late afternoon. They find some high ground like the top of a mound or rocks. With their keen eyesight, they scan the area.

Once it sees prey, it needs to take a closer look. Using its instincts, it creeps closer using the tall grass to hide.

It will sprint to try to catch its prey. If successful, it suffocates the animal by clamping down on its windpipe. The cheetah’s jaw is very strong and creates a vise-like-grip on prey.

The most common animals they eat are:

  • Gazelle
  • Antelope
  • Kirk’s Dik-Dik
  • Steenbok
  • Springbok
  • Gemsbok
  • Reedbuck
  • Bushbuck
  • Duiker

They also like to eat smaller animals like

  • Birds
  • Rabbits & Hares
  • Ostrich
  • Warthogs
  • Caracals
  • foxes
  • Baboons
  • Jackals
  • Cane rats
  • Mole rats
  • Young Zebra

Why do cheetahs have spots?

Cheetah’s spots almost cover their entire body and are used to help as camouflage. When they are in the long grass, it helps them blend in better, especially when they are stalking their prey.

It is also essential for the mother cheetah to protect her cubs.

Territorial Marking

They mark their territory by urinating on various objects in their environment. They urinate on trees and tree stubs. In open areas, they will seek out any plants that stand out and urinate on these also.

This is often done by the male cheetah who are all competing for the same hunting grounds and is used as one of their best ways to communicate.

Other Facts

Some of the big cats can climb trees, however, the cheetah cannot.

  • Cheetahs do not hunt or prowl at night as they have very bad night vision.
  • A cheetah’s body is very lightweight and they have claws that are blunt. Those are two disadvantages in trying to protect themselves against larger predators. When a more aggressive animal comes near a cheetah, the cheetah will abandon its prey and leave rather than get into a fight.

Cheetahs don’t require a lot of water. They can survive by drinking water only once every three or four days.