Categories: Cheetah

For how long can a cheetah run at top speed?

Cheetahs with a body temperature of 40.5°C refused to run in an experimental trial. The distance a cheetah will run at top speed depends on how hot they become during the sprint but probably no more than about 400 meters or yards at which point the cat’s internal temperature becomes too high. A body temperature of 40-41°C is dangerous for the cheetah.

Cheetah speed

Cheetahs do not pursue prey over long distances. They are designed for explosive, short bursts of speed. They accelerate as fast as powerful and exotic cars. The cheetah accelerates to 75 kilometres per hour in two seconds (46 mph).

Their respiratory rate climbs rapidly from 60 to 150 breaths per minute. Heat production increases more than fiftyfold.

Cheetahs store about 90% of this heat. By comparison the African hunting dog stores 20%. This storage of body heat results in the short spring.

People have discussed the top speed of the cheetah a lot. There are various answers. The estimates vary between 90-128 kilometres per hour (55-79 mph). A reliable measurement over the short distances of a sprint is 112 kilometres per hour or 69.59 miles per hour 1.

In a previous post I stated that the top speed was 64 mph and I also explained how this was attained.

Sources: 1 — Ewer RF 1973 The carnivores — Alexander RM 1993 Legs and locomotion of carnivores — Hildebrand M 1959 Motions of the running cheetah and horse.



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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • I used to ride thoroughbred race horses, which was quite exhilarating. To be atop a land animal going 43 mph for 6 furlongs to a couple of miles can be hypnotic, but one has to be cognizant of every step the horse is taking and how they are feeling, otherwise you both can come crashing down with your only thought being if you're going to survive it. I've never seen a cheetah take a bad step, but I'd like to see how they handle it at their speed.

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