This is a page on cheetah cat facts for children and people who want to read plain language. It was written on 13th October 2012. People are free to use it as they wish but please credit the source: http://pictures-of-cats.org
The cheetah is a species (type) of wild cat. It is the world’s fastest animal on land. The cheetah’s body is made for speed. It can only run very fast for about 400 yards. If it runs at top speed for over about 400 yards it gets too hot and has to stop. This is because this superb cat has to use lots of energy to run at a top speed of nearly 70 miles per hour. Over a longer distance of about 2 miles an ordinary domestic dog can run faster than a cheetah.
The cheetah is able to run so fast because it has a very flexible, long body and long powerful legs. This gives this wild cat a huge stride (the distance between the front and back feet as they hit the ground when running). The biggest stride a cheetah can make is about 28 feet which is eight and a half meters (8.5 meters). This is more than the men’s winning long jump distance in the Olympics until 1968.
The cheetah is the sixth (6th) largest wild cat. It is not one of the ‘big cats”. The biggest cheetahs weigh about 150 pounds which is less than many men. Female cheetahs weigh about 85 pounds or 39 kilograms.
The cheetah has a long tail which it uses to keep balance when chasing animals it needs to catch to eat (“prey”). The coat is spotted on a yellow background. There are about 2,000 spots on each cheetah and the fur of the spots is soft like a Persian domestic cat.There is a rare cheetah that has some spots that are joined up. It is called a “king cheetah”. Sometimes you get black or white cheetahs but these are rare too.
The head is quite small and the bite weak compared to a lion. The cheetah kills prey by biting the throat so the animal can’t breath. Less force is needed to do this than to break the neck of an animal.
One of the most noticeable things about a cheetah’s face is the black line that goes from the eye to the mouth on both sides.
The cheetah lives in Africa. Africa is a continent of many countries. Most of the cheetahs live in a country called Namibia in the south and most of these cheetahs live on land owned by farmers. The places where it is allowed to live by people is getting smaller every year. This is because there are more and more people in Africa every year. There may also be some cheetahs in Iran but if there are, it won’t be many. The total number of cheetahs in the world is about 7,000 and the number is going down.
The cheetah likes to live in open places which gives it the freedom to run fast. If there were lots of trees and bushes it could not run fast and it would be difficult to chase and catch animals to eat (“prey”). The cheetah needs to be able to use its speed to catch animals. The animals that it catches are also very fast. They are animals like the Thompson’s gazelle and Impala.
When a cheetah is very young there is a good chance he will be killed by large animals such as the lion. If there are ten cubs that are eight weeks old only about four will grow up. The rest will die young. It is very tough for young cheetahs.
Like other wild cats the cheetah needs a large area to live in. The cheetah might need an area to live in that is about 4 miles wide and 5 miles long but sometimes it can be much bigger or smaller. It depends on where the cheetah lives and how much prey is there. Male cheetahs live alone or with two or three other cheetahs who may be brothers or friends. Female cheetahs live with their cubs.
About 12,000 years ago the cheetah lived in Texas, Wyoming and Nevada in the United States of America. The cheetah is quite sweet and friendly and for 4,000 years people have been friendly with the cheetah. There are ornaments from over 2,500 years ago of tame cheetahs with collars. The cheetah was also used by people for hunting.