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Cheetah

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a big cat in the subfamily Felinae that
inhabits most of Africa and parts of Iran. It is the only extant member of
the genus Acinonyx. The cheetah can run as fast as 109.4 to 120.7 km/h
(68.0 to 75.0 mph), faster than any other land animal. It covers distances
up to 500 m (1,640 ft) in short bursts, and can accelerate from 0 to
96 km/h (0 to 60 mph) in three seconds.[3] The cheetah's closest extant
relatives are the puma and jaguarundi of the Americas. Cheetahs are
notable for adaptations in the paws as they are one of the few felids with

Cheetah
Temporal range: Pleistocene Holocene, 1.90 Ma

Pre

OS D

C P T

Pg N

only semi-retractable claws.[4]


Their main hunting strategy is to trip swift prey such as various antelope
species and hares with its dewclaw. Almost every facet of the cheetah's
anatomy has evolved to maximise its success in the chase, the result of
an evolutionary arms race with its prey. Due to this specialisation,
however, the cheetah is poorly equipped to defend itself against other
large predators, with speed being its main means of defence. In the wild,
the cheetah is a prolific breeder, with up to nine cubs in a litter. The
majority of cubs do not survive to adulthood, mainly as a result of
depredation from other predators. The rate of cub mortality varies from
area to area, from 50% to 75%,[5] and in extreme cases such as the
Serengeti ecosystem, up to 90%. Cheetahs are notoriously poor breeders
in captivity, though several organizations, such as the De Wildt Cheetah
and Wildlife Centre, have succeeded in breeding high numbers of cubs.
The cheetah is listed as vulnerable, facing various threats including loss
of habitat and prey; conflict with humans; the illegal pet trade;
competition with and predation by other carnivores; and a gene pool
with very low variability. It is a charismatic species and many captive
cats are "ambassadors" for their species and wildlife conservation in
general.

Contents
1 Etymology
2 Taxonomy and phylogeny
2.1 Subspecies
3 Genetics
3.1 King cheetah

A South African cheetah (A. jubatus


jubatus)

Conservation status

Vulnerable (IUCN 3.1)[1]


Scientific classification
Kingdom:

Animalia

Phylum:

Chordata

Class:

Mammalia

Order:

Carnivora

Suborder:

Feliformia

Family:

Felidae

Subfamily:

Felinae

Genus:

Acinonyx

Species:

A. jubatus
Binomial name

Acinonyx jubatus
(Schreber, 1775)

4 Characteristics
4.1 Anatomy
5 Distribution and habitat
6 Ecology and behavior
6.1 Social organisation
6.1.1 Males

Subspecies
A. j. venaticus (Griffith, 1821)
A. j. hecki Hilzheimer, 1913
A. j. jubatus (Schreber, 1775)
A. j. soemmeringii (Fitzinger,
1855)

A. j. raineyii Heller, 1913

6.1.2 Females and juveniles


6.2 Home ranges and territories
6.2.1 Males
6.2.2 Females
6.3 Vocalizations
6.4 Reproduction
6.5 Diet and hunting
6.6 Speed and acceleration

The range of the cheetah

Synonyms
6.6.1 Non-hunting
6.6.2 During hunting
6.6.3 Adaptations
6.7 Enemies and competitors
6.8 Reproduction
7 Relationship with humans
7.1 Economic importance
7.2 Taming
8 Conservation status
8.1 National Metapopulation Project in South Africa
8.2 Re-introduction project in India
9 In popular culture
10 References
11 Sources

Species synonymy[2]

12 Further reading
13 External links

Etymology
The vernacular name "cheetah" is derived from the Hindi word "" (ct), which in turn comes from the
Sanskrit word citrakya, meaning "bright" or "variegated".[6] The first recorded use of this word was in
1610.[7] An alternative name for the cheetah is "hunting leopard".[8] The scientific name of the cheetah is
Acinonyx jubatus.[9] The generic name Acinonyx could have originated from the combination of three Greek
words: a means "not", kaina means thorn, and onus means claw. A rough translation of the word would be "nonmoving claws", a reference to the limited retractability (capability of being drawn inside) of the claws of the
cheetah. The specific name jubatus means "maned" in Latin, referring to the dorsal crest of this animal.[10]

Taxonomy and phylogeny


Lynx
Lynx rufus (Bobcat)
L. canadensis (Canadian
lynx)
L. pardinus (Iberian
lynx)
L. lynx (Eurasian lynx)
Puma
Acinonyx jubatus
(Cheetah)
Puma concolor
(Cougar)
P. yagouaroundi
(Jaguarundi)
Felis
Felis chaus (Jungle cat)
F. nigripes (Blackfooted cat)

The cheetah is the only


extant species of the genus
Acinonyx. It is classified
under the subfamily Felinae
and family Felidae, the
family that also includes
large cats such as lion, tiger
and leopard. The species
was first described by
German naturalist Johann
Christian Daniel von
Schreber in his 1775
publication Die Sugethiere
in Abbildungen nach der
Natur mit

Cougar

Beschreibungen.[9]
The cheetah has a
particularly close
relationship with the cougar
(Puma concolor) and the
Jaguarundi
jaguarundi (P.
The two other species in the
yagouaroundi) in
Puma lineage
comparison to other felids.
These three species together
form the Puma lineage, one of the eight lineages of
Felidae.[11][12][13] In fact, the jaguarundi is more closely

F. silvestris
silvestris
(European
wildcat)
F. margarita
(Sand cat)
F. silvestris
lybica
(African
wildcat)
F. catus
(Domestic
cat)
The Puma lineage, depicted along with the Lynx and
Felis lineages of the family Felidae[11]

related to the cougar and the cheetah than to any other


felid.[14] The cheetah is also close to Felis, which comprises
smaller cats.[15]
Although the cheetah is an African cat, molecular evidence
indicates that all the three species of the Puma lineage
evolved in North America 2 to 3 million years ago, where
they possibly had a common ancestor during the
Miocene.[16] They possibly diverged from this ancestor 8.25
million years ago.[12] The cheetah diverged from the puma
and the jaguarundi around 6.7 million years ago.[17] A
genome study concluded that cheetahs originated in North
America and spread to Asia and Africa around 100,000
years ago during the late Pleistocene. The result of this first
migration also caused the first genetic bottleneck in their
population when cheetahs became extinct in North America
at the end of the last Ice age. This was followed by a second
bottleneck between 10,00020,000 years ago, further

lowering their genetic diversity.[18]


Cheetah fossils found in the lower beds of the Olduvai Gorge site in northern Tanzania date back to the
Pleistocene.[19] The extinct species of Acinonyx are older than the cheetah, with the oldest known from the late
Pliocene; these fossils are about 3 million years old.[2] These species include Acinonyx pardinensis (Pliocene
epoch), much larger than the modern cheetah, and A. intermedius (mid-Pleistocene period).[20] While the range
of A. intermedius stretched from Europe to China, A. pardinensis spanned over Eurasia as well as eastern and
southern Asia. Additionally, these two species were contemporaries of the cheetah nearly 10,000 years ago,
when it occurred throughout Asia, Africa and North America.[2] A variety of cheetah larger in size existed in
Europe at some point of time, but fell to extinction around 0.5 million years ago.[8]
Extinct North American cats resembling the cheetah had historically been assigned to Felis, Pumas or
Acinonyx. However, a phylogenetic analysis in 1990 placed these species under the genus Miracinonyx.[21]
Miracinonyx exhibited a high degree of similarity with the cheetah. However, in 1998, a DNA analysis showed
that Miracinonyx inexpectatus, M. studeri, and M. trumani (early to late Pleistocene epoch),[20] found in North
America, are not true cheetahs; in fact, they are close relatives of the cougar.[22] The cheetah was formerly
considered to be particularly primitive among the cats and to have evolved approximately 18 million years ago.
However, a 2000 study suggests the last common ancestor of all 40 existing species of felines lived more
recently than about 11 million years ago. The same study indicates that the cheetah, while highly derived
morphologically, is not of particularly ancient lineage, having separated from the cougar and the jaguarundi
around six to seven million years ago.[22]

Subspecies
The five recognized subspecies of the cheetah are:[23]

Asiatic cheetah (A. j. venaticus) (Griffith, 1821): Also called the Iranian or Indian cheetah Formerly
occurred across southwestern Asia and India.[24] According to the
International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural
Resources (IUCN), it is confined to Iran, and is thus the only
surviving cheetah subspecies indigenous to Asia. It is Critically
Endangered.[25] A 2004 study estimated the total population at 5060.[26] Later, a 2007 study gave the total population in Iran as 60
to 100; the majority of individuals were likely to be juveniles. The
population has declined sharply since the mid-1970s.[27]
Northwest African cheetah (A. j. hecki) Hilzheimer, 1913: Also
called the Saharan cheetah. Found in northwestern Africa; the
IUCN confirms its presence in only four countries: Algeria, Benin,
Subspecies' range
Burkina Faso and Niger. Small populations are known to exist in
the Ahaggar and Tassili N'Ajjer National Parks (Algeria);[28] a
2003 study estimated a population of 20 to 40 individual in Ahaggar National Park.[29] In Niger, cheetah
sightings have been reported from the Ar Mountains, Tnr, Termit Massif, Talak and Azaouak valley.
A 1993 study reported a population of 50 from Tnr. In Benin, the cheetah still survives in Pendjari
National Park and W National Park. The status is obscure in Burkina Faso, where individuals may be
confined to the southeastern region. With an estimated total world population of less than 250 mature
individuals, it is listed as Critically Endangered.[30]
South African cheetah (A. j. jubatus) (Schreber, 1775): Also called the Namibian cheetah. Lives in
Southern Africa where the geographical range has decreased to 21% of the historic range and now
includes Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia. In 2007, the population was roughly
estimated at less than 5,000 to maximum 6,500 adult individuals.[31][32] In Namibia, the population has
increased from about 2,500 in 1990 to 3,500 today.[33] It lives in grasslands, savannahs, arid
environments, open fields and mountains, and occupies a medium size range among surviving subspecies.
Occurs in several countries of southern Africa: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa,
Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe; extinct in Malawi and Democratic Republic of the Congo.[1]
Sudan cheetah (A. j. soemmeringii) (Fitzinger, 1855): Also called the Central or Northeast African
cheetah. Found in the central and northeastern regions of the continent and in the Horn of Africa. This
subspecies was considered identical to the South African cheetah until a 2011 genetic analysis
demonstrated significant differences.[34][35] It is the second-largest of the surviving subspecies. In 2002,
the total population was estimated at around 2,000 individuals in the wild.[36] Found in northeastern
Africa Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan; possibly extinct in Djibouti and Eritrea, extinct in
Egypt[1] and central Africa: Chad, Central African Republic, Niger;[37] extinct in Cameroon,
Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria[1]
Tanzanian cheetah (A. j. raineyii syn. A. j. fearsoni) Heller, 1913: Also called the East African cheetah.
Found in Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda. The total population in 2007 was estimated at 2,572
adults and independent adolescents.[1] As of 2015, it is estimated that 800 to 1,200 cheetahs live in
Kenya, therefore makes the country the main stronghold for the East African cheetahs.[38] This
subspecies lives in savannahs, grasslands, plains and forests. Their largest populations are found at
Maasai Mara and at the Serengeti ecosystem where the rate of cheetah cubs' mortality varies up to 90%.
Tanzanian cheetahs are the second most common subspecies after the most numerous South African
cheetah. It is the tallest and largest subspecies. Occurs in several countries of eastern Africa: Kenya,
Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda;[1] extinct in Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.
The five subspecies of the cheetah

Asian cheetah

Northwest African cheetah

Sudan cheetah

Tanzanian cheetah

South African cheetah

Genetics
The diploid number of chromosomes in the cheetah is 38, the same as any other felid, save for the ocelot and
the margay, whose diploid number of chromosomes is 36.[15] The cheetah has unusually low genetic variability.
This is due to a very low sperm count, motility, deformed flagella, difficulty in captive breeding and
susceptibility to disease.[39][40] Skin grafts between unrelated cheetahs illustrates this point, seconded by
electrophoretic evidence and reproductive surveys.[41] Genetically, all cheetahs are the near-equivalent of
identical twins. [42]
It is believed that the species went through a prolonged period of inbreeding following a genetic bottleneck
during the last Ice age.[43] This suggests that genetic monomorphism (lack of genetic variability) did not
prevent the cheetah from flourishing across two continents for thousands of years.[44]

King cheetah

The king cheetah is a variety of cheetah with a rare mutation for cream-colored fur marked with large, blotchy
spots and three dark, wide stripes extending from their neck to the tail.[45] In 1926, Major A. Cooper wrote
about an animal he had shot near Salisbury (modern-day Harare) in southern
Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe). Describing the animal, he noted its
remarkable similarity to the cheetah, but the body of this individual was covered
with fur as thick as that of a snow leopard and the spots merged to form stripes.
He suggested that it could be a cross between a leopard and a cheetah. After
further similar animals were discovered, it was established they were similar to
the cheetah in having non-retractable claws - a characteristic feature of the
cheetah.[46][47]
English zoologist R. I. Pocock described it as a new species named Acinonyx
rex, which translated to "king cheetah".[47] However, he reversed this decision
in 1939 due to lack of evidence; but in 1928, a skin purchased by the English
zoologist Walter Rothschild was found to be intermediate in pattern between the
king cheetah and spotted cheetah and English hunter-naturalist Abel Chapman
considered it to be a color form of the spotted cheetah.[10][48] 22 such skins were
King cheetah, note the
found between 1926 and 1974. Since 1927, the king cheetah was reported five
distinctive coat pattern
more times in the wild. Although strangely marked skins had come from Africa,
a live king cheetah was not photographed until 1974 in South Africa's Kruger
National Park. Cryptozoologists Paul and Lena Bottriell photographed one during an expedition in 1975. They
also obtained stuffed specimens. It appeared larger than a spotted cheetah and its fur had a different texture.
There was another wild sighting in 1986 the first in seven years. By 1987, 38 specimens had been recorded,
many from pelts.[49]
In May 1981, two spotted sisters gave birth at the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre (South Africa) and
each litter contained one king cheetah. The sisters had both mated with a wild male from the Transvaal region
(where king cheetahs had been recorded). Further king cheetahs were later born at the Centre. It has been
known to exist in Zimbabwe, Botswana and in the northern part of South Africa's Transvaal province. In 2012,
the cause of this alternative coat pattern was found to be a mutation in the gene for transmembrane
aminopeptidase Q (Taqpep), the same gene responsible for the striped "mackerel" versus blotchy "classic"
patterning seen in tabby cats.[50] Hence genetically the king cheetah is simply a variety of the common cheetah
and not a separate species. This case is similar to that of the black panthers.[45] The mutation is recessive, which
is a reason behind the rareness of the mutation. As a result, if two mating cheetah have the same gene, then a
quarter of their offspring can be expected to be king cheetah.[13]

Characteristics
The cheetah is a big cat with several distinctive features - a slender body, deep chest, spotted pelage, a small
rounded head, black tear-like streaks on the face, long thin legs and a long spotted tail.[51] Its lightly built, thin
form is in sharp contrast with the robust build of the other big cats.[13] The head-and-body length ranges from
112150 centimetres (4459 in).[51] The cheetah reaches nearly 70 to 90 centimetres (28 to 35 in) at the
shoulder.[51][52] Thus it is clearly taller than the leopard, that stands nearly 5570 centimetres (2228 in) at the
shoulder. The weight ranges of the cheetah overlaps extensively with that of the leopard, that weighs from 28

65 kilograms (62143 lb).[51] On the other hand, the cheetah is significantly shorter than the lion, whose
average height is nearly 120 centimetres (47 in). Moreover, it is much lighter than the lion, among which
females weigh 126 kilograms (278 lb) and the males are much heavier, 186 kilograms (410 lb).[51] Based on
measurements, the smallest cheetah have been reported from the Sahara, northeastern Africa and Iran.[17] A
sexually dimorphic species, male cheetah are generally larger than the females.[52]
The head is small and
streamlined, thus adding to the
agility of the cheetah.[53] The
Saharan cheetah are observed to

Close view of a cheetah; note the light


build, slender body, spotted coat and
the long tail.

have narrow canine faces.[17]


Small, short and rounded, the
ears have black patches on their
back; the fringes and base of the
ears, however, are tawny. The
high-set eyes have round
pupils.[52][54] The whiskers,
shorter and fewer than those of

other felids, are fine and inconspicuous.[55] The pronounced tear streaks
are unique to the cheetah. These streaks originate from the corner of the
eyes, following which they run down the nose till the mouth. Their role
is obscure - they may be serving as a shield for the eyes against the sun's
glare, a helpful feature as the cheetah is a diurnal hunter; another

Cheetah portrait showing the black


"tear mark" running from the corner
of the eye down the side of the nose

purpose could be to define facial expressions.[17]


Basically yellowish tan or rufous to grayish white, the coat of the
cheetah is uniformly covered with nearly 2,000 black, solid spots. The
upper parts are in stark contrast to the underbelly, that is completely
white.[51] Each spot measures nearly 3.25.1 centimetres (1.32.0 in)
across.[56] Every cheetah has a unique pattern of spots on its coat; hence
this serves as a distinct identity for each individual.[2][17][56] Cheetah fur
is short and often coarse. Fluffy fur covers the chest and the ventral

Comparative illustration of a leopard


(left) and cheetah (right)

side.[51] Several color morphs of the cheetah have been identified, including melanistic and white forms.[57]
Black cheetah have been observed in Kenya and Zambia. In 1877-1878, English zoologist Philip Sclater
described two partially albino specimens from South Africa.[13] A ticked (tabby) cheetah was photographed in
Kenya in 2012.[58] Juveniles are typically black with long, loose blue to gray hair.[51] A short mane, about 8
centimetres (3.1 in) long, on the neck and the shoulders, is all that remains of the cape in adult cheetah.[13] The
exceptionally long and muscular tail measures 6080 centimetres (2431 in), and ends in a bushy white tuft.[59]
While the first two-thirds of the tail are covered in spots, the final part is marked with four to six dark rings or
stripes.[13][56] The arrangement of the terminal stripes of the tail differs among individuals, but the stripe
patterns of siblings are very similar. In fact, the tail of an individual will typically resemble its sibling's to a
greater extent than it resembles its mother's or any other individual's.[13]

The cheetah is often confused with the leopard and the cougar. However, the leopard is marked with rosettes
while the cheetah with spots; added to this the former lacks the tear streaks of the cheetah.[60] Moreover, the
leopard has rose-like spots instead of the small round ones of the cheetah.[61] The cougar possesses neither the
tear streaks nor the spotted coat pattern of the cheetah.[2] The serval has a very similar form as the cheetah, but
is significantly smaller. Moreover, it has a shorter tail and spots that fuse to form stripes on the back.[62]

Anatomy
The cheetah differs notably from the other big cats in terms of
morphology.[63] The face and the jaw are unusually shortened and the
sagittal crest is poorly developed, possibly to reduce weight and enhance
speed. In fact, the skull resembles that of the smaller cats. Another point
of similarity to the small cats is the long and flexible spine, in contrast
with the stiff and short one of other large felids.[64] A 2001 study of felid
morphology stated that the relatively earlier truncation of the
development of the middle phalanx bone in cheetah in comparison to
other felids could be a major reason for the peculiar morphology of the
cheetah.[63] In the Puma lineage, the cheetah has similar skull
morphology as the puma - both have short, wide skulls - while that of

A cheetah skull is relatively short and


the sagittal crest is poorly developed.

jaguarundi is different.[65]
The cheetah has a total of 30 teeth; the dental formula is 3.1.3.1
3.1.2.1 . The sharp, narrow cheek teeth help in tearing
flesh, whereas the small and flat canine teeth bite the throat of the prey to suffocate it. Males have slightly
bigger heads with wider incisors and longer mandibles than females.[2] The muscles between the skull and jaw
are short, and thus do not allow the cheetah to open its mouth as much as other cats.[13] Digitigrade animals, the
cheetah have tough foot pads that make it convenient to run on firm ground. The hindlegs are longer than the
forelegs. The relatively longer metacarpals, metatarsals (of lower leg), radius, ulna, tibia and fibula increase the
length of each jump. The straightening of the flexible vertebral column also adds to the length.[2]
Cheetah have a high concentration of nerve cells, arranged in a band in the center of the eyes. This arrangement
is called a "visual streak", that significantly enhances the sharpness of the vision. The visual streak is most
concentrated and efficient in the cheetah among most of the felids.[64] The nasal passages are short and large;
the smallness of the canines helps to accommodate the large nostrils.[2] The cheetah is unable to roar due to the
presence of a sharp-edged vocal fold with a sharp edge in the larynx.[2][66]
The paws of the cheetah are narrower than those of other felids.[2] The slightly curved claws lack a protective
sheath, and are weakly retractable (semi-retractable).[51][52] This is a major point of difference between the
cheetah and the other big cats, that have fully retractable claws.[67] The limited retraction of claws adds a canine
quality to this felid. The aforementioned 2001 study showed that the claws of cheetah have features
intermediate between those of felids and the wolf. This peculiar similarity between the cheetah and the wolf was

attributed to convergent evolution.[63] Additionally, the claws of cheetah are shorter as well as straighter than
those of other cats.[13] Absence of protection makes the claws blunt.[17] However, the large and strongly curved
dewclaw has notable sharpness.[68]

Distribution and habitat


Cheetahs inhabit dry and open areas, such as clayey deserts, steppes,
savannahs and grasslands, acacia scrubs and light woodland. Most
cheetahs never enter dense forests or thickets except Asiatic cheetahs
that lived in dense forested regions in India. In Africa, cheetahs once
occurred in these types of habitat from the Mediterranean to the Cape
Peninsula, and in Asia from the northern Arabian Peninsula eastwards to
the Deccan Plateau and West Bengal in India. Until the first half of the
20th century, cheetahs were killed by sport hunters and became scarce
throughout their range. In South Africa they were hunted to almost
Cheetah in the Serengeti savanna
extermination by the 1930s. In Arabia, there have not been any reliable
records since the 1950s. The Qattara Depression in Egypt was
considered their last refuge by the 1960s. In India, they were declared extinct in
1952.[69]
Since the 1950s, cheetahs were eradicated in at least 13 countries by farmers and
trophy hunters. Between 1978 and 1994, more than 9,500 cheetahs were killed
on Namibian farmlands alone. Today, cheetah populations are small and
isolated, with viable populations in about half of the countries where cheetahs
survive. Their remaining strongholds are in Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and
Namibia.[70] The remaining population of Asiatic cheetahs survives in
fragmented protected areas around the Dasht-e-Kavir in eastern Iran.[71] In
2008, this population was considered very small, comprising less than 50

Cheetahs in the Serengeti


National Park, Tanzania

reproducing individuals.[72]

Ecology and behavior


The cheetah is a diurnal animal,[59] unlike the leopard,[73] the tiger[74] and the lion,[75] that are active mainly
during the night. Hunting is the major activity throughout the day, and peaks are observed during dawn and
dusk.[17]

Social organisation
Apart from the lion, the cheetah is the only cat that is gregarious; however, female cheetahs tend to remain
solitary.[53]
Males

Although adult males are territorial, they are often social and may group together for life and form coalitions
which collectively defend their territories. In most cases, a coalition will comprise brothers born in the same
litter, who stayed together after weaning.[76] However, if a cub is the only male in the litter then two or three
lone males may form a group, or a lone male may join an existing group. Males in coalitions establish territories
that ensure maximum access to females.[17] In the Serengeti, 41% of adult males are solitary, 40% live in pairs
and 19% live in trios.[77] A coalition is six times more likely to obtain a territory than a lone male, although
studies have shown that coalitions keep their territories just as long as lone males between four to 4.5 years.
Solitary males may or may not be territorial.
Some males alternate between solitude and coalitions, whichever ensures encounters with a greater number of
females.
Females and juveniles
Females are regular visitors to male territories. Females are not territorial, and live alone or with their offspring
in large home ranges. Home ranges often overlap, but there is no interaction between the females.[17] Juveniles
form mixed-sex groups after weaning, but most of the young females stay back with their mother, with whom
they do not show any significant interaction. Males eventually mature and try to acquire territories.[51][53]

Home ranges and territories


Both male and female cheetahs have home ranges, however, only males
form territories. Home range sizes depend on resource availability. In
areas with nomadic prey (e.g. Thomson's gazelle in the Serengeti and
springbok in the Kalahari Desert), the home ranges cover hundreds of
square kilometres. In contrast, where the prey are non-nomadic (e.g.
impala in the Kruger National Park) home ranges are merely 100 to
200 km2 (39 to 77 sq mi).[53]
Males

Male cheetah marking his territory

Territory size depends on resource availability, including access to


females. Females' home ranges can be very large and a male or coalition territory that includes several females'
ranges can be impossible to defend. Instead, males choose locations at which several females' home ranges
overlap so these can be properly defended against intruders while maximizing the chance of reproduction. The
sizes can be location specific. For example, territories range from 33 to 42 km2 (13 to 16 sq mi) in the
Serengeti, while in the Phinda Private Game Reserve, the size can be 57 to 161 km2 (22 to 62 sq mi). Territorial
solitary males establish considerably larger territories, as large as 777 km2 (300 sq mi) in the Serengeti or
1,390 km2 (540 sq mi) in central Namibia. A 1987 study of the social organisation in males showed that
territoriality depends on the size and age of the males and the membership of the coalition. It concluded that
solitary as well as grouped males have nearly equal chance of coming across females, but the males in
coalitions are notably healthier and have better chances of survival than their solitary counterparts.[78] In the

Serengeti, only 4% of the solitary males held territories, while those who joined coalitions were far more
successful. The average period for which territories were held was four months for singletons, 7.5 months for
pairs and 22 months for trios.[51]
Males will attempt to kill any intruders, and fights result in serious injury or death.[79][80] Territorial clashes can
take place between two coalitions, or coalitions and solitary males. These can even involve cannibalism.[17]
Males exhibit marking behaviour - territories, termite mounds, trees, common tracks and junctions and trees are
marked by urine, faeces and claw scratches.[76] Males marking their territory by urinating stand less than one
meter away from a tree or rock surface with the tail raised, pointing the penis either horizontally backward or
60 upward.[81] Male coalitions are able to defend the best territories through joint scent-marking.[82]
Females
Unlike male and other felines, female cheetahs do not establish
territories. Instead, the area in which they live is termed a home range.
These overlap with other females' home ranges, often those of their
daughters, mothers, or sisters. The size of a home range depends entirely
on the availability of prey. Cheetahs in southern African woodlands have
ranges as small as 34 km2 (13 sq mi), while in some parts of Namibia
they can reach 1,500 km2 (580 sq mi).
Females always hunt alone, although cubs will accompany their mothers
to learn to hunt once they reach five to six weeks-of-age.

Female cheetah and cubs

Vocalizations
The cheetah is a prominently vocal felid. While the cheetah can not roar but the other big cats can, the latter can
not purr but the cheetah can.[83] Several sources refer to a wide variety of cheetah vocalisations, but most of
these lack a detailed acoustic description, which makes it difficult to reliably assess exactly what terms refer to
exactly what vocalizations. In 2010, Robert Eklund (of the University of Gteborg, Sweden) and colleagues
published a detailed report on the purring of the cheetah and compared it with that observed in other felids.[84]
The cheetah purrs when content, or to greet known individuals. A characteristic of purring is that it is realised
on both egressive and ingressive airstream.[85][86][87][88][89] The vocalisations of cheetahs include:[90]
Chirping: When a cheetah attempts to find another, or a mother tries to locate her cubs, it uses a highpitched barking called chirping. The chirps made by a cheetah cub sound more like a bird chirping, and so
are termed chirping, too.
Churring or stuttering: This vocalization is emitted by a cheetah during social meetings. A churr can be
seen as a social invitation to other cheetahs, an expression of interest, uncertainty, or appeasement or
during meetings with the opposite sex (although each sex churrs for different reasons).
Growling: This vocalization is often accompanied by hissing and spitting and is exhibited by the cheetah
during annoyance, or when faced with danger.
Yowling or moaning: This is an escalated version of growling, usually displayed when danger worsens.
Agonistic vocalisations: a combination of growls, moans, hisses and the "trademark" cheetah spit, which
is most often accompanied by a forceful "paw hit" on the ground.

Reproduction
Females reach sexual maturity at the age of 21 to 22 months. Captive
cheetahs are receptive for up to 14 days and have an estrous cycle of 3 to
27 days.[2] Male and female stay together for 23 days and mate mostly
at night. Females give birth after a gestation of 9095 days. In the wild,
litter size is seldom more than six cubs, who stay in the lair for about the
first eight weeks. Then they accompany their mother on hunts, but are
still nursed up to the age of four months. When cubs leave their mothers
and become independent, siblings stay together for some time.[81] After
weaning, juveniles form mixed-sex herds that last for nearly six months.
Some young females may stay back with their mother even after
weaning, but there is hardly any interaction between the mother and
daughters. The females in the mixed-sex herd gradually move out as

Cheetah cub

they near sexual maturity.[51]


In the Serengeti, average age of independence of 70 observed litters was 17.1 months. Young females had their
first litters at the age of about 2.4 years and subsequent litters about 20 months later. Nearly 50% of cubs
survived to independence from their mothers. Females reached an average age of 6.2 years, and males of 5.3
years.[91]

Diet and hunting


Cheetahs are carnivores preferring medium-sized prey with a body mass
ranging from 23 to 56 kg (51 to 123 lb), comprising Thomson's gazelle,
impala, blesbok, springbok, Grant's gazelle, reedbuck and duiker. They
can feed on these species rapidly before kleptoparasites arrive, and the
risk of getting injured while hunting them is minimal. When available
they also prey on steenbok, kudu, waterbuck, bushbuck, hartebeest,
nyala, sable antelope, bat-eared fox, roan antelope and oribi. Less
frequently they prey on ostrich, warthog, wildebeest, gemsbok and
zebra.[92] Asiatic cheetahs prey on chinkara, desert hares, Goitered
gazelle, ibex and wild sheep.[93] The blackbuck used to be one of the
most favorable preys for the Asiatic cheetahs.

Cheetah suffocating an impala

The diet of a cheetah depends on the area in which it lives. For example, on the East African plains, its preferred
prey is the Thomson's gazelle (somewhat smaller than the cheetah). In contrast, in Kwa-Zulu Natal, the
preferred prey is the significantly larger nyala, males of which can weigh up to 130 kg (290 lb).[94] Cheetahs
concentrate on individuals that have strayed some distance from their group, and do not necessarily seek out old
or weak ones. They do, however, opt for young and adolescent targets, which make up about 50% of the
cheetah diet despite constituting only a small portion of the prey population.[95]
Cheetahs hunt by vision rather than by scent. They stalk their prey to within 1030 m (3398 ft), then chase it.
The chase usually lasts less than a minute; if the cheetah fails to make a kill quickly, it will give up. Cheetahs
have an average hunting success rate of 4050%.[96][97] They are diurnal hunters that hunt early in the morning

or late in the afternoon when temperature has cooled down. They also
hunt on moonlit nights when visibility allows.[98]
Cheetahs kill their prey by tripping it during the chase, then biting it on
the underside of the throat to suffocate it; the cheetah is not strong
enough to break the necks of most prey. Rapid deceleration, to enable
the cheetah to bite its quarry before the latter can get up and running
again, is therefore a crucial component of a successful hunt.[99] The bite
may also puncture a vital artery in the neck. Then the cheetah proceeds
to devour its catch as quickly as possible before the kill is taken by
stronger predators.

Three cheetahs at their kill in the


Serengeti savanna

Speed and
acceleration
The cheetah's body is
specialized for
speed[100][101] and it is
the fastest land

Tanzanian cheetah in pursuit of Thomson's gazelle

mammal.[102][103][104][105] Biologist R. D. Estes describes the cheetah


as the "felid version of the greyhound", as both have similar morphology
and the ability to reach tremendous speeds in a shorter time compared to
other mammals.[51][106] Their thin and light body make them well-suited
to short, explosive bursts of speed, rapid acceleration and an ability to
execute extreme changes in direction while moving at speed. These
adaptations account for much of the cheetah's ability to catch fastmoving prey.[107][108]
Non-hunting

Documentary video filmed at 1,200


frames per second showing the
movement of Sarah over a set run

In 1997, the speed of an adult cheetah was timed at 104.4 kilometres per hour (64.9 mph), an average of three
trials over a 200 m course, with a running start. At the time, it was stated this is the highest running speed that
has been recorded reliably for any animal.[109][110]
In 2012, an 11-year-old cheetah from Cincinnati Zoo named Sarah broke a world record by running 100 meters
in 5.95 seconds, during which she ran a recorded maximum speed of 98 kilometres per hour (61 mph).[111]

The speed ranges from 90 to 108 kilometres per hour (56 to 67 mph); the most reliable measurement of the
typical speed in a sprint is 112 km/h (70 mph).[109][112][113] As this is an averaged value, a cheetah's maximum
speed is presumably still higher.[114] Though the speeds attained by cheetah are marginally faster than the
pronghorn (88.5 km/h (55.0 mph))[115] and the springbok (88 km/h (55 mph)),[116] the cheetah has a greater
probability of succeeding in the chase due to its exceptional acceleration - it can attain a speed of 75 km/h
(47 mph) in just two seconds.[13]
One stride or jump of a galloping cheetah averages 7 metres (23 ft).[111]
During hunting
Speeds and acceleration when hunting may be different from those in non-hunting scientific investigations
because the cheetah is more likely to be twisting and turning to capture the prey and may be running through
shrubs and other vegetation. One study of five wild cheetahs (three females, two males) reported a maximum
speed of 93 km/h (58 mph), with an average of 48 to 56 km/h (30 to 35 mph). Speed can be increased by almost
10 km/h (6 mph) in a single stride, and acceleration rates of 7.75 m/s/s have been recorded.[108] The average
chase is 173 m (568 ft) and the maximum ranges from 407 to 559 m (1,335 to 1,834 ft). Another study on
hunting cheetahs reported that the maximum chase duration was 59 seconds and speeds in excess of 50.4 km/h
(31 mph) could be maintained for 23 seconds for 379 m.[108]
Given the moderate speeds of many chases during hunting, the ability to rapidly change direction is likely to be
the ability that ensures hunting success.[99][108][117]
Adaptations
The large nasal passages ensure fast flow of sufficient air, and the enlarged heart and lungs allow the enrichment
of blood with oxygen in a short time. This allows cheetahs to rapidly regain their stamina after a chase.[2][13]
During a typical chase, their respiratory rate increases from 60 to 150 breaths per minute.[96] While running, in
addition to having good traction due to their semi-retractable claws, cheetahs use their tail as a rudder-like
means of steering allowing them to make sharp turns, necessary to outflank antelopes that often make such turns
to escape.[13][53] The protracted claws increase grip over the ground, while foot pads make the sprint more
convenient over tough ground. The tight binding of the tibia and the fibula restrict rotation about the lower leg,
thus stabilizing the animal throughout the sprint; the demerit, however, is that this reduces climbing efficiency.
The pendulum-like motion of the scapula increases the stride length and assists in shock absorption. The
extension of the vertebral column can add as much as 76 centimetres (30 in) to the length of a stride.[113][118]
During more than half of the time of the sprint, the animal has all the four limbs in the air; this contributes to the
stride length.[119]
In the course of a sprint, the heat production in cheetah exceeds more than 50% of the normal. The cheetah
retains as much as 90% of the heat generated in its body during the chase, which is considerably larger than the
20% in the case of the domestic dog.[13] The cheetah does not indulge in long distance chases, lest it should

develop dangerous temperatures, nearly 40 to 41 C (104 to 106 F). The cheetah will run no more than 500
metres (1,600 ft) at the tremendous speeds of 80 to 112 kilometres per hour (50 to 70 mph). This is very rare as
most chases are within 100 metres (330 ft).[120][121]

Enemies and competitors


Despite their speed and hunting prowess, cheetahs are largely outranked by other large predators in most of
their range. Because they have evolved for short bursts of extreme speed at the expense of strength, they cannot
defend themselves against most of Africa's other predator species. They usually avoid fighting and will
surrender a kill immediately to even a single hyena, rather than risk injury. Because cheetahs rely primarily on
their acceleration and manoeuvrability to obtain their meals, any injury that impedes their altering speed and
direction could essentially be life-threatening.
Cheetahs lose around 10 to 15% of their kills to other predators,[95] though it was once thought to be as high as
50%.[96] Cheetahs avoid competition by hunting at different times of the day and by eating immediately after
the kill. Due to the reduction in habitat in Africa, cheetahs in protected areas face greater pressure from other
larger predators, causing them to live outside of reserves and increasingly coming into conflict with
humans.[122] In Namibia, where the largest population of wild cheetah lives, 90% of these cheetahs live on
farmland.

Reproduction
Females reach sexual maturity at the age of 21 to 22 months. Captive
cheetahs are receptive for up to 14 days and have an estrous cycle of 3 to
27 days. The females are induced ovulators.[2] Male and female stay
together for 23 days and mate mostly at night. Females give birth after
a gestation of 9095 days. In the wild, litter size is seldom more than six
cubs, who stay in the lair for about the first eight weeks. Then they
accompany their mother on hunts, but are still nursed up to the age of
four months. When cubs leave their mothers and become independent,
siblings stay together for some time.[81] After weaning, juveniles form
mixed-sex herds that last for nearly six months. Some young females
may stay back with their mother even after weaning, but there is hardly
any interaction between the mother and daughters. The females in the

Cheetah cub

mixed-sex herd gradually move out as they near sexual maturity.[51]


In the Serengeti, average age of independence of 70 observed litters was 17.1 months. Young females had their
first litters at the age of about 2.4 years and subsequent litters about 20 months later. Nearly 50% of cubs
survived to independence from their mothers. Females reached an average age of 6.2 years, and males of 5.3
years.[91] A genetic analysis of cheetahs in the Serengeti showed that females are polyandrous. Of 47 litters, 10
were sired by two to three males.[123]
Cubs weigh from 250 to 300 g (8.8 to 10.6 oz) at birth. Their nape, shoulders and back is thickly covered with
long bluish grey hair, which is considered to act as camouflage from predators.[81] This downy underlying fur,
called a mantle, gives them a mane or Mohawk-type appearance; this fur is shed as the cheetah grows older. It

has been speculated that this mane gives a cheetah cub the appearance of the honey badger, to scare away
potential aggressors.[124]
Cheetah cub mortality is caused by predation from lions, leopards, spotted hyenas and African wild dogs. Of
125 cubs observed between October 1987 and September 1990 in the Serengeti National Park, not more than
seven cubs survived to the age of 14 months.[125] This high cub mortality has not been observed in areas where
fewer large predators were present. In the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, 24 of 67 observed cubs survived to the
age of 14 months.[126]
Cheetah cubs often hide in thick brush for safety. Female cheetahs defend their young and are at times
successful in driving predators away from their cubs. Coalitions of male cheetahs can also chase away other
predators, depending on the coalition size and the size and number of the predator. Healthy adult cheetahs have
few enemies since they are able to escape fast.

Relationship with humans


Economic importance
Cheetah fur was formerly regarded as a status symbol. Today, cheetahs have a growing economic importance
for ecotourism and they are also found in zoos. White Oak Conservation in Yulee, Florida, which maintains a
significant population of cheetahs, has cited that captive management presents challenges because of health,
nutrition and socialization of the cats, but that these have been overcome through collaborations among wildlife
facilities.[127]
Cheetahs are far less aggressive than other felids, and in some parts of the world are considered a prestigious
possession. Cheetah cubs are taken from the wild for the illegal wildlife trade and can be found for sale through
street markets and the Internet. However, cheetahs do not breed well in captivity and legal breeding facilities are
unable to meet the demand. Thus, the proliferation of wild cheetah taken for the illegal pet trade has the
potential of decimating wild populations. The Cheetah Conservation Fund estimates that hundreds of cheetah
cubs are taken from the wild every year to be sold as pets; only about one in six survive.[128]
Cheetahs living outside of protected areas often inhabit farmland, where they are shot by farmers who believe
that they eat livestock. Recent evidence has shown, however, that cheetahs will not attack and eat livestock if
they can avoid doing so, as they prefer their wild prey.[129] The Cheetah Conservation Fund has designed and
implemented programs to prevent predators' conflict with humans. These programs aim at helping the farmers
to protect their livelihoods through education, livelihood development, habitat restoration and predator-friendly
farming techniques, such as the highly-successful use of livestock guarding dogs.[130]

Taming
Ancient Egyptians often kept cheetahs as pets, and also tamed and trained them for hunting, although they did
not domesticate them. Cheetahs would be taken to hunting fields in low-sided carts or by horseback, hooded and
blindfolded, and kept on leashes while dogs flushed out their prey. When the prey was near enough, the
cheetahs would be released and their blindfolds removed. This tradition was passed on to the ancient Persians
and brought to India, where the practice was continued by Indian princes into the twentieth century. Cheetahs

continued to be associated with royalty and elegance, their use as pets spreading just as their hunting skills
were. Other such princes and kings kept them as pets, including Genghis Khan and Charlemagne, who boasted
of having kept cheetahs within their palace grounds. Akbar the Great, ruler of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to
1605, kept as many as 1,000 cheetahs.[96] As recently as the 1930s, the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie,
was often photographed leading a cheetah by a leash.
Cheetahs are still tamed in the modern world, much to their detriment as
the demand in the illegal pet trade continues. However, their tameability
has also allowed many registered institutions to educate the public by
training cheetahs as educational ambassadors. One example is Burmani,
who has been raised in England at Eagle Heights wild animal park from
the age of three months. He was bred in a deer park in Germany. He is
so tame that he has lost his hunting instinct.[131]

Conservation status
Cheetah cubs have a high mortality rate due to predation by other
carnivores, such as the lion and hyena, and perhaps genetic factors. It
has been suggested that the low genetic diversity of cheetahs is a cause
of poor sperm, birth defects, cramped teeth, kinked tails, and bent limbs.

Tamed cheetah offered as tribute to


the King of Thebes (1700 BC)

Some biologists even believe that they are too inbred to flourish as a species.[132] Note, however, that they lost
most of their genetic diversity thousands of years ago (see the beginning of this article), and yet have only been
in decline in the last century or so, from 100,000 in the early 1900s to 10,000 today, due to loss of habitat and
prey, human-wildlife conflict and the illegal pet trade.[133]
Cheetahs are included on the International Union for Conservation of
Nature (IUCN) list of vulnerable species (African subspecies threatened,
Asiatic subspecies in critical situation) as well as on the US Endangered
Species Act: threatened species - Appendix I of CITES (Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species). In 2014, the CITES
Standing Committee recognized cheetahs as a "species of priority' in
north-east Africa in their strategies to counter wildlife trafficking.[134]
Approximately 10,000 cheetahs remain in the wild in twenty-three
African countries; Namibia has the most, with about 3,500. Another 50
Captive Sudan cheetah in Chester Zoo
to 60 critically endangered Asiatic cheetahs are thought to remain in
Iran. There have been some successful breeding programs in zoos
around the world. Additionally, recent research into improving in vitro fertilisation and embryo culture
techniques have the potential of consistently producing embryos for transfer.[135]
Founded in Namibia in 1990, the Cheetah Conservation Fund's mission is to be the world's resource charged
with protecting the cheetah and to ensure its future. The organization works with all stakeholders within the
cheetah's ecosystem to develop best practices in research, education and ecology and create a sustainable model
from which all other species, including people, will benefit. The Cheetah Conservation Fund has close links and
assists in training and sharing program successes with other countries where cheetahs live, including Botswana,

Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Iran and Algeria. The organization's international program includes
distributing materials, lending resources and support, and providing training through Africa and the rest of the
world.

National Metapopulation Project in South Africa


The South African cheetah used to be widespread in several areas of
South Africa, until after years of hunting and conflicts, the population
have dramatically declined and went extinct in multiple regions of the
country. The species live mostly on the eastern and northern locations of
South Africa.
Since the 1960s and onwards, the cheetahs are being reintroduced in
their former ranges. The first known reintroductions were in KwaZulu
Natal, Gauteng, Lowveld, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Southern
Kalahari. South African cheetahs have also returned in the Karoo,
starting with Samara Private Game Reserve. As of 2013, the cheetah
population has increased from between 550 and 850 individuals to over
1,300 individuals in South Africa after many conservation efforts for the
species.

South African cheetah was one of the


most widespread animals. Two South
African cheetahs photographed at
southwestern South Africa between
1906 and 1918.

A National Cheetah Metapopulation Project was launched in 2011 by the


Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT).[136] Its purpose is to develop and co-ordinate a national metapopulation
management plan for cheetahs in smaller fenced reserves in South Africa. For instance, the cheetahs have been
reintroduced in approx. 50 of these South African reserves. Fragmented subpopulations of South African
cheetahs are currently increasing in a few hundreds.[137]
For the first time after 100 years of extinction since the colonial period, the cheetah has recently been
reintroduced into the Free State in 2013,[138] with two male wild cheetahs that have been relocated from the
Eastern Cape's Amakhala Game Reserve to the Free State's Laohu Valley Reserve, where the critically
endangered South China tiger from Save China's Tigers (SCT) are part of a rewilding project in South Africa. A
female cheetah has yet to be reintroduced to Laohu Valley.[139]

Re-introduction project in India


The Asiatic cheetahs have been known to exist in India for a very long
time, but as a result of hunting and other causes, cheetahs have been
extinct in India since the 1940s. A captive propagation project has been
proposed. Minister of Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh told the
Rajya Sabha on 7 July 2009, "The cheetah is the only animal that has
been described extinct in India in the last 100 years. We have to get them
from abroad to repopulate the species." He was responding to a call for
attention from Rajiv Pratap Rudy of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"The plan to bring back the cheetah, which fell to indiscriminate hunting
and complex factors like a fragile breeding pattern is audacious given
the problems besetting tiger conservation." Two naturalists, Divya
Bhanusinh and MK Ranjit Singh, suggested importing the South African

Male Asiatic cheetah in Northeastern


Iran

cheetahs from Namibia, as they can't afford to relocate the critically endangered Asiatic cheetahs from Iran. The
imported Namibian cheetahs will be bred in captivity and, in time, released in the wild in suitable habitats for
the cheetahs.[140]
However, in 2012, the plan to reintroduce the African cheetahs to India has been suspended after discovering
the distinctness between the cheetahs from Asia and Africa, having been separated between 32,000 to 67,000
years ago.[141][142]

In popular culture
In Titian's Bacchus and Ariadne (1523), the god's chariot is borne
by cheetahs (which were used as hunting animals in Renaissance
Italy). Cheetahs were often associated with the god Dionysus,
whom the Romans called Bacchus.
George Stubbs' Cheetah with Two Indian Attendants and a Stag
(17641765) also shows the cheetah as a hunting animal and
commemorates the gift of a cheetah to George III by the English
Governor of Madras, Sir George Pigot
The Caress (1896), by the Belgian symbolist painter Fernand
Khnopff (18581921), is a representation of the myth of Oedipus
and the Sphinx and portrays a creature with a woman's head and a
cheetah's body (often misidentified as a leopard's).
Bacchus and Ariadne by Titian, 1523
Andr Mercier's Our Friend Yambo (1961) is a curious biography
of a cheetah adopted by a French couple and brought to live in
Paris. It is seen as a French answer to Born Free (1960), whose
author, Joy Adamson, produced a cheetah biography of her own,
The Spotted Sphinx (1969).
Hussein, An Entertainment, a novel by Patrick O'Brian set in India
of the British Raj period, illustrates the practice of royalty keeping
and training cheetahs to hunt antelopes.
The book How It Was with Dooms tells the true story of a family
raising an orphaned cheetah cub named Duma (the Swahili word
for cheetah) in Kenya. The films Cheetah (1989) and Duma
(2005) were both loosely based on this book.
Cheetah with Two Indian Attendants
Similarly, Roger Hunt successfully tames a cheetah in Willard
and a Stag by George Stubbs, 1764
Price's Safari Adventure, after rescuing it from an elephant pit
1765
trap. The cheetah soon befriends a German shepherd dog called
Zulu.
The animated series ThunderCats had a main character who was
an anthropomorphic cheetah named Cheetara.
In 1986, Frito-Lay introduced an anthropomorphic cheetah,
Chester Cheetah, as the mascot for their Cheetos.
Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle has a subplot involving an
The Caress by Fernand Khnopff, 1887
escaped cheetah, which later smokes cannabis with the pair and
allows them to ride it.
Comic book superheroine Wonder Woman's chief adversary is Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva, alias The
Cheetah.
On the CGI animated show Beast Wars: Transformers, Cheetor, one of the main characters on the
Maximal faction, had the beast form of a cheetah. This was also carried over as the beast form of the

Cheetor Hasbro transformer.


The Japanese anime Damekko Dbutsu features a clumsy but sweet-natured cheetah named Chiiko.
The first release of Apple Inc.'s Mac OS X was code-named "Cheetah", which set the pattern for the
subsequent releases being named after big cats.
In Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light the character Witterquick as the totem of a Cheetah and
could turn into one.
Titled "Hunting at 60 mph", the PlayStation 3 game Afrika features a Cheetah hunting a gazelle as the
game's first "big game hunt".

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Further reading
Caro, T. M. (1994). Cheetahs of the Serengeti Plains: group living in an asocial species. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-09433-2.
Great Cats, Majestic Creatures of the Wild, ed. John Seidensticker, illus. Frank Knight, (Rodale Press,
1991), ISBN 0-87857-965-6
Cheetah, Katherine (or Kathrine) and Karl Ammann, Arco Pub, (1985), ISBN 0-668-06259-2.
Science (vol 311, p. 73)

External links
Species portrait Cheetah; IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group
Wikimedia Commons has
(http://www.catsg.org/index.php?id=107)
media related to Acinonyx
Cheetah (http://www.eol.org/pages/328680) at the Encyclopedia
jubatus.
of Life
Biodiversity Heritage Library bibliography
Wikispecies has information
(http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/name/Acinonyx_jubatus) for
related to: Acinonyx
Acinonyx jubatus
jubatus
Cheetah Conservation Fund (http://www.cheetah.org/)
Save China's Tigers to Fund Wild Cat Conservation Worldwide
(http://english.savechinastigers.org/node/487)
De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust (http://www.dewildt.org.za)
On the Chase With Cheetahs (http://www.life.com/image/first/in-gallery/35612/on-the-chase-withcheetahs) - slideshow by Life magazine
Fake Flies and Cheating Cheetahs (http://www.abc.net.au/science/k2/moments/gmis9911.htm): measuring
the speed of a cheetah
Mutant Cheetahs (http://www.messybeast.com/genetics/mutant-cheetahs.html): information on color
variants of cheetahs
Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cheetah&oldid=708304570"
Categories: IUCN Red List vulnerable species Acinonyx Animals described in 1775
Carnivorans of Africa Fauna of Southern Africa Fauna of East Africa Fauna of the Sahara
Mammals of Africa Mammals of Asia Mammals of Western Sahara Megafauna of Africa
Pleistocene first appearances
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