Its name is from the Sanskrit chitraka, meaning "Spotted
One". The Cheetah is the fastest land mammal in the world, and can reach speeds of up
to 60mph on the open plains. Cheetahs use different hunting techniques from other cats.
Instead of stalking and then making a short dash, they will lie in wait, then engage in a
average sprint of around 200 metres, this ends with a swipe that sends its prey sprawling
head over heels. The prey is then grabbed by the throat and killed by suffocation, all
this in a matter of seconds.
Unlike other large cats, Cheetahs don't roar, they bark, similar to dogs
and believe it or not, chirrup like a bird. Also unlike other felines, they cannot sheath
their claws. The females are solitary and have large home ranges of around 300 sq miles.
The males mostly live in small coalitions of two or three. Although some males are
territorial and will defend areas of around 20 sq miles.
Size: Length of Head and Body: 120-150 cm (47-59 in).
Tail: 65-85 cm (25 ½ -33 ½ in).
Weight: 30-60 kg (66-132 lb.
The estimated world population of the Cheetah in 1900 was 1000,000. Today
that figure stands at between 9,000 and 12,000. It was once a common sight on the plains
of Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia. The last Cheetahs to be seen in India were
In 1952 by three people, one a local ruler. They were driving down a country road at
night, when they spotted some Cheetahs in the headlights. They stopped the car, got out,
then they shot them!
There are several Cheetahs in captivity today. They are very carefully
monitored and their details recorded in stud books. Also there are protection groups in
The Cheetalert Project. (Centred at the Lifeline Survival
Trust in Woodcombe, Somerset)
Cheetah Conservation Fund
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