This is an essay on the cheetah written for children and people who like plain English. I have kept it short deliberately.
The cheetah is not only the fastest animal on land, it is also one of the most beautiful, stylish and athletic movers on the planet. However, the cheetah cannot run fast for long distances as it gets too hot. The cheetah is a sprinter. You wouldn’t see Usain Bolt running the 10,000 meters would you? However, he could run 400 meters and that is about the maximum distance a cheetah can run at top speed, which is said to be about 70 mph but is more accurately about 64 mph. Usain’s average speed from a standing start over 100 meters is 23 mph with a top speed of 27.3, which by the way is about the same as your house cat.
If Mr Bolt and a cheetah ran 100 meters with a flying start, the cheetah would finish about 50 meters ahead of Mr Bolt at the finish. I hope that gives a feel for the majestic speed of this elegant wild cat. The cheetah has a maximum stride of 28 feet. The world record long jump (2013) is a bit over 29 feet. The cheetah does this almost every stride. The cheetah achieves these speeds through great flexibility of its spine combined with big lungs and a long body and long legs.
The cheetah lives in Africa. There are a few in Iran. Most cheetahs live in wide open grassland in Namibia in southern Africa and more than 9 out of 10 of these cheetahs live on farmland. That may surprise you. Do you think the farmers always get along with the cheetah and leave it alone? I am afraid they don’t because cheetahs hunt animals to eat and they do not know the difference between a farm animal and a wild animal.
The cheetah kills a goat and the farmer kills the cheetah who killed his goat. This sort of thing happens a lot. Also the cheetah needs lots of space. There isn’t enough for the cheetah anymore in Africa. This means that there are less and less cheetahs in the world each year. When you watch the beautiful video on this page you can only think this this is a great shame.
The cheetah’s main prey is the Thomson’s gazelle. This is also a very fast moving animal (50 mph). The cheetah cannot take risks when catching prey because if this cat is injured it might not be able to run fast anymore, which means it is likely to starve to death.
The cheetah has a nice character. For this reason it has been tamed by people for thousands of years as a pet. It has also been used for hunting with people over many centuries.
It is good fun to celebrate the speed of this special wild cat. It would be better if we did more to protect its life on earth.