The cheetah is the world’s fastest land animal and is capable of reaching speeds greater than 110 km/hour in just over 3 seconds.
1. World's fastest animal
Hailed as the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt holds the current Men’s 100-metres world-record sprint of 9.58 seconds – The cheetah would reach the finish line in around 5 seconds! A cheetah can go from 0-40 mph in three strides. Each stride may carry a cheetah 25 feet.
2. The cheetah is the most endangered big cat in Africa
Fewer than 10,000 cheetahs survive in the wild today from 100,000 a century ago.
3. Cheetahs can see detail more than two miles away
4. Clawed up and ready for action
Claws of the cheetah do not retract into their paws the way other cats’ claws do, hence the origin of part of their genus name. Their claws remain out like dogs for better traction.
5. Balance and precision
The cheetah’s long muscular tail works like a rudder, stabilising and acting as a counterbalance to its body weight. This allows sudden sharp turns during high-speed chases for food.
6. Last Few Surviving
Today the Asiatic cheetah, the elegant subspecies that was once found in the Royal Courts of India, Persia and Arabia is now all but extinct. There are about 60-100 remaining in Iran.
7. Egyptian Idols
Egyptians were the first to immortalise cheetahs in images on tombs and temples nearly 4,000 years ago.
8. Namibia: Cheetah Capital of the World
A third of the world’s population of cheetahs, (around 3,500) are found in Namibia.
9. Good Footing
When a cheetah is running, only one foot touches the ground at a time. At two points during its stride, all four feet are off the ground.
About the author
Dr Laurie Marker is a research scientist and conservation biologist recognised as one of the world’s leading experts on the cheetah. As Founder of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), Dr Marker has developed an innovative holistic conservation model that recognises that the future of the species is in the hands of the people who share their land. Dr Marker has also conducted groundbreaking research on the re-introduction of captive-born cheetahs back into the wild.