Here’s one simple truth you’ve probably heard before; animals are countless, and there are millions of animals that haven’t been discovered. And each of these animals has different sizes, abilities, shapes, and many distinct features.
Among the numerous creatures in the world are Big Cats, one of which we’ll learn about. Big cats are some of the most feared land animals, and each of these cats has its distinct unique features and body features. Take the cheetah, the fastest animal, for example. There are things you’re about to find out about the cheetah. Get ready to learn about many surprising and amazing facts about cheetahs. Why don’t you pull something to sit on as you read on.
First, let’s consider how fast Cheetahs are.
The world’s fastest animal; made for speed
There’s one thing about cheetahs; their spines are flexible. Because of this flexibility, they can stretch and make giant leaps. Their legs also complement their spines. They have long legs, which makes them run at full speed as they cover long distances. Their tails and their claws are also significant parts that make them accelerate swiftly.
Cheetahs can sprint from 0 to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour) in under three seconds. They travel approximately 21 feet per leap when racing at full speed. And their feet only contact the ground around two times during each stride. However, after a chase, it takes 30 minutes for a cheetah to recoup its breath before it can feed.
Cheetahs get tired quickly
Cheetahs may be the fastest animal; however, they have their weaknesses. One of them is getting exhausted easily. Because it requires energy to be able to move at a fast speed, cheetahs get tired quickly. For this reason, they only chase for a maximum of 300m and a minimum of 200m. So whenever a hunt doesn’t work out after one minute, they stop and rest.
Cheetahs don’t Roar
While these cheetahs are among the cat family, most of which roar, they tend to be distinct. Although this may sound surprising, the simple truth is that Cheetahs Meow or Purr. Compared to Lions that make scary roars, cheetahs don’t sound threatening. They would rather meow and purr just like a domestic cat. This is because there’s a particular bone in the throat that makes other big cat roars which cheetahs lack.
Cheetah, a word from the Hindi language
The name of the fastest animal, cheetah, originates from a Hindi word. The Hindi word, Chita, when translated, means “spotted one.” Each cat has a distinct spot pattern that aids in hunting camouflage. Cheetahs can have about 2000 to 3000 spots. In exceptional instances, however, a genetic trait causes a more smudgy fur that blends into stripes. Cheetahs with these genes are called the “King Cheetahs.” Although they appear different from the spotted cheetahs, they are only separated by one gene.
Cubs often get relocated
Cubs often get relocated by their mothers to different places. Each time they move, they go to different hiding places; this happens every few days. When cubs become 5 to 6 weeks old, they move with their mothers and eat from their hunts. However, once the cubs become a year old, they start to hunt for themselves. And cubs who are fifteen months old leave their mother to find a male or a group to live with.
Cheetahs reproduce early
At age one, male cheetahs can reproduce, and females can start raising families at two. Cheetahs will mate with a variety of cheetahs throughout their lives; therefore, pairings are essentially random.
How often do Cheetahs drink?
Cheetahs are native to parts of Africa and central Iran. As a result, their natural habitat is known for its very high temperature. In such a sunny climate, water can be very scarce. How does the cheetah adapt to such harsh conditions? Cheetahs drink water from rivers and water holes. However, they can survive for days without drinking water. In fact, they only drink once every three or four days. In some cases, the cheetah can go up to 10 days without a drink of water. Though they are not known blood drinkers, they can also obtain water indirectly from their prey’s body fluids.
What do Cheetahs Feed On?
Cheetahs are fully dependent on their mother for food during the first couple of months of their life. As cubs, they are blind, so they rely on their mother to feed them. These young ones feed on their mother’s milk for nutrients until the age of 3 to 6 months, when they begin to eat meat. At this stage, the cubs try hunting smaller prey like young gazelles and hares. Generally, the cheetah becomes an efficient hunter at about 15months of age.
Furthermore, the cheetah, like other predatory cats, is carnivorous. They mainly hunt medium-sized prey like antelopes, springboks, gazelles, impalas, and wildebeests. Smaller animals like rabbits, birds, and warthogs are also on the menu. Cheetahs also prefer fresh meat, so they rarely scavenge kills made by other predators. Although they are not herbivores, they sometimes chew grass if they experience stomach issues.
What about the Cheetah’s Eyes?
Apart from their immense speed, cheetahs have impeccable eyesight, which they rely on while hunting. Cheetahs generally hunt in the morning and early hours of the afternoon when the sun’s effects are minimal. During the day, their eyesight can be likened to a powerfully expensive zoom lens! At such hours they can see detail from as far as 5km away. Even human binoculars have difficulty performing this feat. Equipped with black hairs that absorb light from the sun, the cheetah can run straight towards the sun without having its eyesight hindered. However, unlike most predators like the lion, the cheetah’s eyesight is not so great at night. Their hunting is thus restricted to the daytime when there is less competition for prey.
The Tail of the Cheetah
Cheetahs have twisty elongated tails that act like a rudder which helps them maintain their balance as they reach top speeds. Their incredible speed, coupled with their long slender bodies, makes them a predatory missile.
The Cheetah’s Claws
The cheetah has non-retractable claws. When running, this serves as cleats to help maximize their speed.
Cheetahs are built more for speed than stamina. They can run long distances in seconds. Their long slender tails help them steer and maneuver when chasing prey, while their claws allow them to trip the prey as they close in on the kill. When it comes to hunting, therefore, speed is imperative. Although the cheetah is faster than other land predators, it is not as strong and lacks as much stamina, which means they can easily tire out if they have to chase their prey for too long. Truly, there are a lot of fascinating facts to learn about the cheetah. What qualities of the cheetah do you find the most interesting?