All of you might know which animal is the world’s fastest animal. Yes, it is Cheetah. You will be amazed to know that a cheetah can run up to a speed of 114 kilometers per hour or 75 miles per hour. The amazing part is that, the cheetah can run at the above mentioned speed within the short bursts also, for example to cover a distance as small as 1600 feet and also can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just three seconds. Now you are well aware about the cheetah’s fastest speed that he can reach up to. But do you know anything else about them, for example, where do they live, what do cheetahs eat, or even about their lifestyles? If your answer is No, then in this article, you are going to get all the answers of the above mentioned questions. Therefore, fasten your seat belts and just start reading on, because as you will progress in reading, you are going to know a lot of amazing facts about the cheetahs that you may never have expected from the cheetahs.
What Do Cheetahs Eat?
Cheetahs: An Overview
Let’s start with having an overview about them. Primarily, the cheetah is a large feline and can be recognized easily because of their big spotted coat, tear stripes, which come from the eye corners and their tiny size. The cheetah also has a lean, long-legged build that are especially designed for giving them a higher speed. A cheetah belongs to the kingdom of Animalia of the family Felidae and species Jubatus. His head and body size is between 3.7-4.4 feet or 112-135 cm and the tail length is between 2.2-2.8 feet or 66-84 cm.
If you will look at a cheetah, then you will come to know that its color of the coat is tanned with the black spots and white spots under his belly. You can also see the long teardrop shaped lines on both sides of the nose from the corner of its eyes that runs till its mouth. The tail also is the spotted one and it is approximately ¾ in the length, which forms into four to six dark rings at the end of the tail. The end of the tail is a kind of bushy white tuft.
You would be shocked to know that this fastest animal of the world has joined the group of endangered species. According to the statistics, in the year of 1900, there were around 100,000 cheetahs that were living across the Asia and Africa. Now, only a century later, less than 15,000 cheetahs remain in the 26 African countries and less than 100 in Iran, the last of the Asian cheetahs. In over half of the countries, the cheetah population where they are found may be too small to viable. Do you know that it took around 4,000,000 years for the cheetah to become what they are today, and it has taken less than 100 years for the man to place these beautiful animals in the list of the endangered species list. With the increasing human population, the land that is devoted to the livestock farming has progressively increased. Farm animals occupied the land where cheetahs roamed and the natural prey became scarce for them. However, there are numerous game reserves that have protected these cheetahs, but still they are not able to compete against the large predators that are living inside these reserves.
One of the major threats to the cheetah’s survival is their tendency to fare less well in the protected areas and the nature reserves than the other predators. The reasons behind it are the physical aspects. An animal that can sprint up to 70 miles/hour or 110 km/hour might make cheetahs accomplished hunters; however the cost that these cheetahs have to pay for high speed is the flexible and the slender body that put them in the severe disadvantage with some of the other large predators. This sheer effort that is caused because of the chase can easily exhaust them; because of this, most often, they have to wait and relax for approximately 20 minutes after they have killed the animal. In this time, they have a fair risk of having their prey stolen. The cheetahs have very light frame that is designed for them so that they can run fast. However, this comes as a disadvantage, as they cannot defend their prey from the lions, leopard or even hyenas from getting stolen.
The cubs of cheetahs also get killed; they are easily vulnerable to lions, hyena and other predators whenever their mother leaves them and goes for hunting or even when she may be away for up to 48 hours. However, these smoky gray cubs have very long hair, also known as the mantle that runs along their backs so that they can serve as the camouflage in the dried grasses. Despite of having these long hairs as the camouflage many cubs still do not get to the adult stage.
Because cheetahs have the longer legs, lean body and the outstretched stance, they have been nick named as the “greyhound” of the feline world. Therefore, the world’s fastest feline is sleek, long-legged and beautifully spotted. You will be amazed to know that the male cheetahs are slightly larger than their female counterparts. Moreover, they have a bigger head, but it is still difficult to distinguish between the males and females apart by just looking at them.
Where Do Cheetahs Live?
It is believed that, historically, cheetahs were once found throughout the African and Asian continents from the far reaches of South Africa to all the way to India. However, at present, the cheetahs are only confined to the parts of central, southwestern and eastern Africa and also small isolated populations that is found in the southwestern part of Asia. But still they have retained a rather wide distribution through most of the sub-Saharan Africa, including the countries of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique. In the current times, the largest population of cheetahs is found on the Natural reserves and parks of Africa.
The primary place for the cheetahs is the grassy savannah plains, grasslands, scrub forests and the semi-arid deserts. They need to live in the areas those are widely open with the plenty of area to roam or run after their prey. As we already know, that cheetahs can expertly camouflage in the grasses while stalking after their dinner. These animals are mostly seen in the areas that have extremely thick vegetation and also where their favorite foods are situated.
The Behavior Of Cheetahs
Unlike hyenas or lions, the cheetahs are diurnal animals that have the poor night vision. Because of this, they prefer to hunt their prey in the light hours. Their favorite time for hunting is the late morning and early evening. They are almost solitary animals and especially the females love to raise their cubs in the solitude. They are thought to be the most sociable big cats because their siblings live together for almost six months after their mother leave them and that follows with the male cheetahs living with the small group of brothers from the same litter for life. Typically, it has been found that the male cheetahs are often aggressive towards the other males when battling to mate with a female. But in most of the cases, the cheetahs will compromise with the other larger animals so that the fight can be avoided.
If we look into their reproduction process, almost all the cheetahs mature rather rapidly. Males are almost ready to mate when they are around one year old and the females are ready when they are around two years old. When these animals engage for mating, the behavior is known as the ‘polygyny.’ It has been found that during their lifetime, both the male and female cheetahs get chances to mate with numerous different members of the opposite sex. Once the female gives the birth, she will feed her young ones the milk from her body, begin teaching them how to hunt, protect them from predators and eventually leave them alone when they will be around one year old.
As is the case with most of the other wild cats, they breed all around the year and do not have any regular established season in which they can mate. However, the season with the good food supply is the most preferred for the breeding among the cheetahs.
Once the fertilization process has occurred, the pregnancy period for the female cheetahs may last for approximately three to four months. During this gestation period, the male cheetah will not remain with the female after the mating is done.
When the gestation period is over, the female cheetahs can give birth to up to eight cubs. Since the young cheetahs are at particular danger of attack from the predators, the cubs have a distinctive smoky coat color with the wooly hair down their backs so that it provides the camouflage to them in the tall grass.
What Do Cheetahs Eat?
The cheetahs are the truly carnivorous animals that totally depend on the meat for their survival. Because of their speed, the cheetahs can hunt various preys that inhabit in the partially open or the open savanna. In general, the diets of the cheetahs consist of wildebeest calves, impalas, gazelles and numerous smaller hoofed animals in their habitat. Moreover, the cheetahs may also consume the rabbits, hares, birds, antelopes and warthogs. As the water can be very scarce in the native lands where the cheetahs reside, they have the ability to survive with just one drink in every three to four days.
The cheetahs have the benefit of the camouflage in the tall grasses. The advantage – cheetahs can quietly sneak up on to the prey until they are confident about the attack. They just burst out with the help of their tail as their rudder, now start the tripping of the animal with their paw, and then suffocation by biting into their necks. Once they have made the kill, the cheetahs must eat the prey quickly or else drag the food to a hiding and safer spot before any of the lions, hyenas or the leopard steal it. While they can be the speediest animal, only half of the 20-60 second hunts are actually successful.
Some Interesting Facts
Let’s look at some of the interesting facts about cheetahs before wrapping up:
Cheetahs are the only cats in the feline family that do not have the ability to roar. They normally vocalize through a loud purr similar to the household domesticated cat. In addition, they also make a unique bird-like sound called a ‘chirrup’ when they are excited or calling for their cubs.
When they are running after their prey, the cheetahs are almost normally panting heavily from the intense chase and also their body temperature can reach up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the reason through which they can keep up their top speed only for a few minutes and then get tired easily and quickly.
So, these were some important and amazing information about the fastest cat in the feline family. As you already know that these are in the endangered conditions, therefore, it is our responsibility to take their care directly or indirectly. Be a responsible human being and contribute your care and services in the betterment of the world.