Cheetah

Vivian Cho Period 3 5/16/16

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Habitat

According to the article, Cheetah, "The cheetah is a large and powerful feline that was once found throughout Africa and Asia and even in parts of Europe. Today however, it is found in only a few remote regions of it's once vast natural range, primarily due to growing human settlements and the hunting of them for their fur," (Cheetah 6). There are two forms of cheetah, the African and the Asian. The Asian cheetah has been hunted to extinction in India, while the African cheetah lives only on small preserves. (Cheetah 3) In 2000, the total remaining population of the Asian cheetahs are currently only living in northern Iran, but are endangered. (Cheetah 3)

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Movement

Cheetahs are the fastest animals on land. They have only four long legs, but they are really fast. Cheetahs are so fast, they can reach the speed of 70 miles per hour. (Kollus 13) Just by running. They have long flexible spines that acts like a spring when running. When running, the cheetah's long legs stretch to the far back and front which allows them to take longer strides every second. (Cheetah 2) Their whole body is made for speed, so, if they have an injury, such as a sprained ankle, they will die. Cheetahs rely heavily on their speed. (Hanes 1)

Body Covering

The cheetah's body is covered in short fur. Referring to World Book Volume 3, the article, Cheetah, page 395 (Print), "The cheetah's body is covered in short fur that is a yellowish-brown with black spots. This pattern is all over their body, except for the throat and the parts underneath the cheetah, which are white to yellowish-white and with more black spots." (Cheetah 4, 395). Cheetahs also have a black strip running from the inside corner of the each eye, down to the mouth. This may be used as an antiglare tool for hunting during the day. (Cheetah 1) Cheetahs are a vertebrate. This helps them to be able to run really fast, which is essential for the cheetah since they practically rely on being able to run fast. (Cheetah 2)
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Diet

Cheetahs have really good eyesight so, before killing it's prey, it uses sight first. After it tracks its prey, the cheetah is about 10-30 meters away from its prey, then, it chases it. (Cheetah 6) Since cheetahs are carnivores, cheetahs eat and kill antelopes such as the Thomson's gazelles and impalas. (Cheetah 1) They catch wildebeests and zebras when hunting together. They also hunt hare, small mammals, and birds. (Cheetah 1) After a cheetah has made its kill, it must eat immediately after cooling down. Before a cheetah can finish it, usually hyenas or lions scare them off and take the prey. (Cheetah 1) The cheetah cannot scare an incoming predator away since it cannot growl. Therefore, the cheetah must find a way to get another meal. (Cheetah 1)

Reproduction

Cheetahs reproduce sexually, so they must find another cheetah of the opposite gender to reproduce. After the female cheetah finds a mate, she is internally fertilized. The baby cheetah(s) develop inside the female and stays there until birth. According to the article, Cheetah, "After a gestation period that lasts for around 3 months, the female Cheetah gives birth to between two and five cubs that are born blind and incredibly vulnerable in the African wilderness. The cubs suckle from their mother for the first few months when they begin eating meat, and start to accompany her on hunting trips as they are able to learn how to hunt from watching her," (Cheetah 6). When the cheetah cubs are between 18 months and 2 years old, they leave their mother to live on their own. According to the article, Cheetah, "The young cub has a long gray-blue coat and a black underbelly that rapidly lightens and becomes spotted," (Cheetah 1). (Cheetah 6) As stated in the article, Cheetah, "Sadly, one of the main reasons for such drastic declines in Cheetah numbers is that up to 75% of Cheetah cubs don't live to be older than 3 months, as their mother has to leave them everyday to find food to feed them, leaving the vulnerable cubs helpless in the face of predators," (Cheetah 6).

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Adaptations

Cheetahs are built for speed. They have large nasal passages and lung that helps them take in more oxygen. In order to deliver all that oxygen, the cheetah has a large heart that pumps blood filled with oxygen through its body. Even though the cheetah has all these adaptations that help them move very fast, the lack stamina so they cannot run for long. (Cheetah 2) Unlike usual big cats, cheetahs do not have retractable claws. This makes the claws of a cheetah dull, but because they need to avoid slipping on the ground during a chase, they have no need to keep their claws retractable and sharp. They also have pad that have special ridges on their feet for traction. (Cheetah 2) Thus, this helps them grip the ground and not slip on it. (Cheetah 2) While most cats have round, fuzzy tails, cheetahs have a tail long and flat tail that helps the cheetah maintain balance, make sharp turns, and chase their prey. (Cheetah 2) According to the article, Cheetah, "Males will sometimes be found in small groups and females live alone, except when raising cubs," (Cheetah 5).

Many might think that cheetahs do not have many predators, but they are wrong. Cheetahs actually have many predators. Their most biggest predators are, humans, lions, and the change in habitat. (Cheetah 1) Lions can and will kill cheetah cubs to extinguish bush rivalry. This can result in a shrinking population of cheetahs. (Hanes 1) According to the article, Speed Alone Can't Save the Cheetah by Stephanie Hanes, "When livestock goes missing, farmers are more likely to see a cheetah on the prowl than any other cat. So while cheetahs are certainly responsible for taking their share of unattended goats, they also often get blamed--and killed--for other cats' hunting," (Hanes 1). This also mainly affects the cheetah. The change in habitat is also a predator of the cheetah is because their habitat is getting destroyed so they have nowhere else to live.

Other Info

  • The cheetah's scientific name is, Acinonyx jubatus. (Cheetah 1)
  • According to the article, Cheetah, "Cheetahs were so popular that Akbar the Great of India was said to have kept a stable of about 1,000," (Cheetah 1).
  • The cheetah belongs to the kingdom, Animalia, the phylum, Chordata, the class, Mammalia, the order, Carnivora, the family, Felidae, and the genus, Acinonyx. (Cheetah 6)
  • According to the article Cheetah, "Cheetahs can live up to 10-12 years," (Cheetah 5).
  • Cheetah can weigh up to 77 to 143 pounds (35 to 65 kg). (Cheetah 5).
  • According to the article, Cheetah, "About 9,000 to 12,000 cheetahs remain in the wild in Africa. There are about 200 cheetahs living in Iran," (Cheetah 5).
  • According to the book, Cheetahs, by Dianne M. MacMillan, "the name cheetah comes from the Hindi word cita, which means "spotted one,"' (MacMillan 8).
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Works Cited

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