10 Facts you should know About Cheetahs
Cheetahs are the fastest living animal on land, running at an incredible about 60mph!!
- The name Cheetah comes from a Hindi word, Chita, meaning ‘spotted one’
The spot patterns are unique to each cat, and help to provide camouflage when hunting. But not every cheetah has spots. In rare cases, a recessive gene produces a blotchier coat that blurs into stripes.
- Cheetahs have different social life among other cats
Females cheetahs are solitary, while males cheetahs live together (unlike, say, a lion pride, which has multiple females). A female cheetahs usually raises her cubs alone, hiding them in dens by day, and teaching them her hunting skills as they grow. Male cheetahs team up with their brothers or other males to form coalitions groups that defend a shared territory and team up to take down larger prey.
- The planet’s fastest land animal is built for super speed, rather than stamina
A cheetah chase usually lasts less than a minute, and covers just 200-300 meters. At full speed, the cheetah takes three strides a second, covering seven meters per stride – it’s not surprising they tire quickly, and conserve energy for much of the time. One study found that cheetahs spent only 12% of their day moving around.
- When they do stir, cheetahs can accelerate faster than most sports cars
They can go from naught to 60mph in less than three seconds flat. Their claws work rather like studs on football boots for extra grip when sprinting, while their long, muscular tail acts as a rudder, helping them make sharp turns, while chasing prey such as antelope or hares.
- Cheetah Prefers to hunt during a day
The distinctive black ‘tear marks’ running from its eyes are thought to help reflect the glare of the sun. Being active by day also reduces the risk of losing a kill to nocturnal predators, such as lions and spotted hyenas. Cheetahs have an eyesight far keener than a human’s so it can pick out prey from a distance. Even so, a ZSL study in Tanzania – part of our long-term conservation work with cheetahs – found that over one in 10 of their kills were stolen by hyenas or lions. Therefore unlike many other cats cheetahs mainly hunts during the day. Though study reveals one in 12 of their killed animals are taken by other preys such as lion, hyenas and eagles.
- Cheetah do not roar
Cheetah lack the special two-piece bone in the throat that allows other big cats to do so therefore they do produce other sounds, including growling, chirping, hissing and purring.
- Cheetahs were symbol of royalty
In the ancient Egypt these amazing animals were considered as a symbol of royalty. Cheetahs were kept as hunting companions by pharaohs and depicted in statues and paintings in tombs. Ancient Egyptians believed a cat goddess named Mafdet, often pictured with a cheetah’s head, and would speed the pharaoh’s soul to the afterworld.
- Cheetahs favors areas where prey animals are less dense
While some cheetah’s coalitions live in a small 30 km square territory, on other areas a cheetah may roam a vast range of 3,000 square kilometers. They favour areas where prey animals are less dense, avoiding competition with bigger predators. Loss of habitat, mainly due to human expansion, means that areas that were once home to thousands of cheetahs can now only support a handful. With people and cheetahs coming into closer contact, human-wildlife conflicts are also a threat.
- Threat from the illegal wildlife trafficking
The cheetah’s amazing looks and reputation are fueling the newest threat to its survival. Demand for cheetahs as pets (particularly in the Arabian Gulf) means cubs are often taken from the wild. Just one in six cubs are thought to survive these trafficking. There is hope, however at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in 2019, 195 countries backed measures ZSL had called for to clamp down on the trade from strengthening law enforcement to tackling the sale of cheetahs on social media platforms.
- Cheetahs could be sprinting towards extinction
More than 90% of cheetahs have disappeared since the beginning of 20th Century, and the global population is estimated at less than 8,000. The Asian cheetah population now numbers just 50 or so animals, in one isolated pocked of Iran according to Research made by ZSL.Once upon a time they were widespread in Africa as well as East India.