The cheetah has a wide range and is found from Africa south of the Sahara to India.
It is considered the world's fastest mammal on land reaching speeds of up to 75 mph. Adults can reach up to
5 feet long and weigh up to 145 lbs. The tail can grow to be as long as 32 inches. It has a tawny
brown coat with black spots, and black tear streaks across its cheeks, and its underparts are white.
Unlike other cats, the cheetah prefers to chase down its prey rather than ambush them. They are also
able to climb trees.
Cheetahs prefer savanna and arid, open grasslands with available bushland (to hide when stalking prey) for their habitat. They prey on all sorts of mammals including gazelles, impala, wildebeest, and antelopes, and smaller prey such as hares, ground birds, and warthogs. Females prefer a solitary life unless it is mating season, and males prefer to live in groups of two to four, called "coalitions." The female gives birth to one to eight cubs after a gestation period of 90 to 95 days. The cubs depend on the mother for about three months and are very vulnerable to predators like lions and hyenas.
The cheetah is threatened by habitat loss and hunting for their spotted pelt. They are also sometimes killed by farmers protecting their livestock. This species is protected by the law, and the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums is dedicated to the research of breeding the species for preservation.
Copyright Notice: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cheetah".
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