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Cheetah AmaniAndKalima 9935 e1635434535434



Acinonyx jubatus

The fastest mammal on land, cheetahs can sprint up to 70 miles per hour and can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds. They are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). There are 6,700 adults left in Africa and 70-100 in Iran. The major threats to cheetahs are habitat loss and fragmentation, loss of prey base because of humans and competition between them and other large predators, conflicts with farmers, and disease. Conservation efforts that are underway include, but not limited to, promotion of livestock management with farmers, protected areas and refuges, and conservation plans that are being set up by individual countries.

The Cheetah Conservation Fund works with many smaller individual groups in many African countries to help conserve national cheetah populations. One of their projects is the Livestock Guarding Dog (LGD) which has the intent of giving local farmers herding dogs to reduce livestock loss and retaliatory killings of cheetahs.

The mating period lasts from one day up to a week. The female’s gestation period is 90 to 95 days, after which she will give birth to a litter of up to 6 cubs. Cheetah cubs weigh between 9 to 15 ounces when born. Only a few cubs reach adulthood; lions and hyenas are their greatest threat. During their first few weeks of life, the mother moves her cubs every few days to avoid predators. If a litter is lost, a female will mate again soon after. Juveniles stay with the mother for 16 to 24 months, and following this period, the litter members live together for a time, perfecting their hunting skills. When the female leaves the cubs, mortality is very high, possibly 90%, during this period. When the female reaches sexual maturity, she either leaves her brothers or is separated from them by older males.

What are they like?

Physical Description: The cheetah is often mistaken for a leopard, but cheetahs have longer legs, a leaner body, and solid dots while leopards have donut shaped markings called rosettes. Its distinguishing marks are the long teardrop shaped lines on each side of the nose from the corner of its eyes to its mouth. This helps keep the sun out of its eyes. The cheetah’s coat is tan, or buff colored, with black spots measuring from ¾ to 1 ¼ inches across. There are no spots on its white belly, and the tail has spots, which form four to six dark rings at the end. The tail usually ends in a bushy white tuft. Cheetahs weigh on average 110-130 pounds.

Life Span: In the wild, cheetahs can live up to 7-10 years. In zoos, cheetahs can live up to 17 years. Cub mortality is high for the species in both the wild and in zoos.

Diet: Cheetahs are carnivorous and eat about 6 pounds of meat daily. In the wild, they prey on a variety of species from rabbits to small antelope and the young of larger antelope. At the Zoo, our cheetahs eat Natural Balance (beef) and shank bones.

Social Structure: Two groups exist in wild populations: the family group and males. Females are solitary. Males, often siblings, form a coalition of 2 or 3; rarely 1 will live alone. This coalition will live and hunt together for life and claims a range which may overlap several female territories.

Habitat: Cheetahs are primarily found in open, grassy habitats but also make use of dry forest, savanna woodland, semi-desert, and scrub, being absent from tropical rainforest. At the Zoo, our cheetahs have a large yard with a climbing structure. The substrate of the yard is tall grass, and our cheetahs can sometimes be seen lounging in the grass.

Where do they live?

Namibia, Africa hosts the largest population of cheetahs in the world. They are also found in about 26 other countries in the continent in small-pocketed populations. Today, the Asian Cheetah is nearly extinct, and the only confirmed report of them comes from Northern Iran, where they are found in small isolated populations.

Cheetah range Africa and Iran

Did you know?

  • The first cheetah cubs born in the United States were born here at the Philadelphia Zoo in 1956 (2 males, 1 female).
  • An adult cheetah has approximately 3,000 spots.
  • Cheetahs have a very flexible spine which allows them to take long and rapid strides. They also have blunt, partly curved claws, which provide traction.
  • Cheetahs have especially pronounced papillae on their tongues, which are small keratinous barbs that have the appearance of teeth. Their papillae are specialized so that they are able to lick meat off the bones of their prey more efficiently.
  • Cheetahs hunt in the late morning and early evening. They capture their prey by stalking—to within 10-30 meters—before chasing. Then they can sprint for up to 300 yards before getting tired. The prey is suffocated when a cheetah bites the underside of the throat. Chases last about 20 seconds, and rarely longer then 1 minute. About half of the chases are successful. And when successful, they often lose kills to lions, hyenas, and vultures.

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