This impoverished region is a hub for the cheetah trade. Now it's fighting back. loading...
This impoverished region is a hub for the cheetah trade. Now it's fighting back.
Resource-poor Somaliland is taking the initiative to end the trafficking of cheetah cubs from the Horn of Africa to Gulf states.
How Sydney is saving cheetahs loading...
How Sydney is saving cheetahs
This International Cheetah Day, National Geographic talks to Ben Britton about the new cheetah breeding centre in Sydney and how it is helping the threatened species.
How Cheetahs Keep Their Heads Still While Sprinting loading...
How Cheetahs Keep Their Heads Still While Sprinting
The big cat's large inner ear helps it keep its eyes locked on prey even when sprinting, a new study finds.
Scientists Fight To List Cheetahs As Endangered loading...
Scientists Fight To List Cheetahs As Endangered
In one of the most thorough studies of its kind, 17 conservationists offer definitive proof that the big cats are dangerously close to extinction.
Video Captures The Rough Mating Habits Of Cheetahs loading...
Video Captures The Rough Mating Habits Of Cheetahs
A foursome of male cheetahs recently ganged up on a female in a South Africa preserve.
About Cheetahs

With acceleration that would leave most automobiles in the dust, a cheetah can go from 0 to 96 kilometres an hour in only three seconds. These big cats are quite nimble at high speed and can make quick and sudden turns in pursuit of prey.

Before unleashing their speed, cheetahs use exceptionally keen eyesight to scan their grassland environment for signs of prey—especially antelope and hares. This big cat is a daylight hunter that benefits from stealthy movement and a distinctive spotted coat that allows it to blend easily into high, dry grasses.

When the moment is right a cheetah will sprint after its quarry and attempt to knock it down. Such chases cost the hunter a tremendous amount of energy and are usually over in less than a minute. If successful, the cheetah will often drag its kill to a shady hiding place to protect it from opportunistic animals that sometimes steal a kill before the cheetah can eat. Cheetahs need only drink once every three to four days.

Female cheetahs typically have a litter of three cubs and live with them for one and a half to two years. Young cubs spend their first year learning from their mother and practicing hunting techniques with playful games. Male cheetahs live alone or in small groups, often with their littermates.

Most wild cheetahs are found in eastern and southwestern Africa. Perhaps only 7,000 to 10,000 of these big cats remain, and those are under pressure as the wide-open grasslands they favor are disappearing at the hands of human settlers.

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