Here are some of the most interesting and amazing cheetah facts for kids. The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a feline that is endemic to Africa with some of the species are also found in the Middle East.
These animals are the extant members of genus Acinonyx. Without any doubt, cheetah is the fastest living animal on earth and covers a vast distance of about 500 metres (1,600 feet).
Cheetahs are considered to be endangered animals in that only 12,400 species are left in more than 20 different African countries.
Cheetah Facts For Kids
- With a narrow waist and slim body, cheetah’s body is covered by several black-circled spots that measure 2 – 3 cm (0.79 – 1.2 inches).
- These cats are capable to reach a speed of 100 km (62 miles) within just 3 seconds; however, they can retain this much speed for a short burst of time.
- The weight of an adult cheetah is about 35 – 72 kg (77 – 160 lb).
- Cheetah is 110 – 150 cm (43 – 59 inches) long excluding the length of tail which measures 60 – 84 cm (24 – 33 inches) in length.
- The shoulder height of cheetah measures around 66 – 94 cm (26 – 37 inches).
- Females are slightly shorter as compared to the males.
- Because of the greater sized nostrils, cheetah is adept to take more and more oxygen especially while running. The heart beat significantly enhances 60 – 150 breaths per minute.
- Too many attempts have been made to keep this animal under captivity but most of them proved to be unsuccessful.
- According to the new research, cheetah species appear to have been evolved some 11,000,000 years ago.
Distribution and Habitat
- Cheetah facts about its habitat display its widespread distribution across Africa, Iran, and Pakistan.
- These felines are more likely to build their habitats in semi-deserts or open areas.
- They are also known to live in savannahs and grassland where vegetation is abundant.
- While males reach maturity after 12 months; females turn out to be fully mature after 2 years. Despite their early maturation, both males and females do not start mating in their first 3 years.
- Females litter 9 cubs. On an average, females give birth to 3 – 5 cubs.
- The gestation period lasts for 90 – 98 days.
- The weight of the cubs measure around 150 – 300 grams (5.3 – 11 oz).
- The young cubs tend to leave their den after 12 – 20 months.
- The average lifespan of cheetah is about 12 years in the wild whereas they can live up to 20 years under captivity.
- The adult males are strong territorial animals and they cover a wide area of about 37 – 160 sq. km (14 – 62 sq. miles). Females usually hunt alone. Cubs might accompany their mothers when they are 5 – 6 weeks old. Some species cover a 1,500 sq. km (580 sq. miles)wide habitat range.
Feeding Ecology and Diet
- Cheetah facts about its diet include a wide variety of animals.
- These large felines predominantly feed on mammals measuring 40 kilograms (88 lb) or less.
- They usually eat wildebeests, impala, Thomason’s gazelle, springbok, zebras, Guineafowl, and Hares.
- They are known to prey in morning or at evening. Cheetah profoundly hunts with its eyesight and magnificent attacking technique.
- They are the hushed hunters that silently approach its prey for about 10 – 30 metres (33 – 98 feet) apart and then begin to run towards it.
- Since these cats don’t have a great stamina, they typically surrender (if the prey is not caught) after few seconds of chase. However, the successful hunting rate is 50%.
- While running after their prey they reach a speed of about 112 – 120 km/h (70 – 75 mph).These animals always go for the young preys by separating them from a herd.
- Because of its small size in comparison to other cats, cheetahs are normally vulnerable while defending themselves against any African predator.
- Even hyena can outrun these cats since cheetah runs for a short burst. The ultimate way of defending is to run fast and any single injury could mean a lot for cheetahs.
- Sometimes, prey that is killed by cheetahs is taken away by predators like hyenas, lions, or tigers. Leopards, eagles, hyenas, lions, and even wild dogs are normally responsible for taking away the cubs.
- Acinonyx jubatus velox
- Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii
- Acinonyx jubatus raineyii:
- Acinonyx jubatus jubatus