What is the fastest land animal in the world? Obviously, we know it as the Cheetah, where it can run 60 miles an hour in just 3 seconds. Moreover, wild cheetahs will be able to reach nearly 70 miles an hour. They are really good at making sudden and quick turns in search of their prey. Apart from running faster, how much do you know about its behavior, habitat, diet, hunting, and reproduction? Let’s see in this section about such facts and the history behind the cheetahs.
Appearance and habitats of Cheetah
Cheetahs are scientifically known as Acinonyx Jubatus and are recognized by some as big cats. They have tawny coats, with black spots arranged in a pattern that is unique. And this coat differs depending on the habitat. The cheetahs living in the desert region look small and pale in color, while cheetahs who live in the range across eastern and southern Africa have large spots and strips due to genetic mutation.
There are also cheetahs that look spotless and seem to be rare living in Kenya. The cheetahs have a feature of black lines that curves from the inner corner of the eye to the outer corners of the mouth. They have a long and slender body and look 75 cm tall at the shoulder and weighs from 75 to 119 pounds (34 to 54 kg).
They are mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa and prefer to live in grasslands, vegetation, savannahs, and mountainous terrain. They are mostly found in the open grassy plains while making use of the bush, scrub, and woodlands.
The origin of this species is about 8.5 million years ago and known as one of the earliest divergences. It has gone through many adaptations and the modern cheetah has evolved into its present form about 200,000 years ago. They were the companions of the rich and high profile people in ancient times and the emperors, kings, and pharaohs keep them as a sign of wealth.
Behavior and diet of cheetahs
The male Cheetahs stay together in groups which are called Coalitions with one or two members, and they are territorial. Female Cheetahs range can be large and they try to build a home range around females, and it will be impossible to defend, and so males choose the points of several females overlapping home ranges and create a small space to defend and maximize the reproduction. They mark their territory by urinating on the objects they stand such as trees, and logs. Female Cheetahs hunt alone and show their cubs how to hunt their prey.
To hunt their prey, they use their keen eyesight to scan the grasslands to find out the existence of any prey. They are known to be the daylight hunters hunting early in the morning or in the evening and move consciously in silence and their skin with similar color of bushes and grasses makes them easier to hide. They hunt using vision and not by scent. First, they stalk their prey and start hunting by running at full speed to knock the prey down. Although they are in desserts they don’t go for water but they stay hydrated by drinking the blood or urine of their prey and sometimes by eating tsama melons.
If the cheetah fails, it will give up because, when running at high speed, it puts a great strain on the body and the body temperature will become so high making it deadly if it continues, so it won’t waste its energy.
Cheetahs are considered carnivores and they eat a variety of small animals like rabbits, birds, antelopes, warthogs. They use to eat it quickly in the fear of losing it to their competitors like lions, jackals, and other animals.
Males use to establish small territories in areas where they can find their mate. Females will reach their maturity within 20 to 24 months and males will reach them within 12 months, and this mating occurs throughout the year. Females will give birth to up to nine cubs.
The young cub spends time learning from their mother on the techniques of hunting and after they leave their mother.
They are in danger because of the open grasslands that make them be occupied by humans. And their population is declining because they have no large space due to the settlements of humans. They are also being hurt by the illegal wildlife trade, and their skin is sold, while several hundred cubs are taken from the wild, and so there are around 7000 cheetahs left. In order to protect them from being endangered, there is conservation that helps to protect them.
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