Cheetah

cheetah-1The cheetah is known as the fastest animal on land over short distance.  In one sprint, the cheetah can run at speeds of over 70 mph to hunt their prey.  However, the cheetah pays a price for this.

Cheetahs physically exert themselves to the limit when they hunt.  They sometimes get to hot and die from overheating. Also, after they land a kill, they need to wait almost 30 minutes to catch their breath. They only eat their own kills,and often  are robbed by larger predators, like lions, hyenas, and leopards.

cheetah 3Cheetah females can have up to 8 cubs at a time, but 3 to 5 is more common.  The cubs will stay with their mother for up to 2 years.  During this time, they learn to hunt and survive in Africa.  Younger cubs often have darker sides and grey, grizzly fur on their backs.  This is to offer protection, because it makes them appear to be honey badgers to other animals.  However, the mortality rate is very high due to cheetahs not being able to fend of larger predators.  Only about 1 cub out of every litter survives to become an adult.

cheetah 4The coat of a cheetah has a specific pattern.  The black dots help camouflage it in the tall grass on the Savannah.  This allows them to ambush gazelles, antelopes, warthogs, and wildebeest which they hunt.  Sometimes, cheetahs form small hunting parties to bring down zebras and ostriches.  Their prey can run almost as fast as the cheetah and turn a lot when they run.  To have a better grip, cheetah claws do not retract like other cats so that they can hold onto the soil better when turning.