Cheetahs (Coming Soon)
This WORLD features one of the most endangered cats on the brink of extinction,
also known as the fastest land mammal on earth.
Genus/Species: Acinonyx jubatus
Cheetahs were originally distributed across all of Africa excepting the rain forest
and the middle of the Sahara, and also across much of Asia Minor, Turkestan and
The dry savanna is the preferred habitat of cheetahs, both in Africa and, earlier,
in Asia. This habitat has a four to
eight month drought period, and the annual rainfall is 5 to 10 m.
The grass is about chest high and the only trees found are palms and a few
Distinctive cheetah characteristics include the short, highly arched skull, the
long legs, in which not the metatarsals but the femurs are elongated, the mane of
the newborn cheetahs, a completely atypical hunting technique, and primitive dentition.
The cheetah can almost be called a dog with a cat's head. The paws are very
narrow compared to those of other felids. The claws are non‑retractile, for their
claw sheaths are vestigial. However, young cheetahs possess well‑developed sheaths
until they are fifteen weeks old and they can retract their claws completely into
these sheaths. After that time the sheaths degenerate. Because of the absence of
claw sheaths, cheetah tracks bear claw marks and thus are unlike those of any other
cat. They have 30 teeth. The eyes are yellow and the pupils contract to circles.
Once a male and female have mated, they stay together for a long period
The male reportedly helps raise the young.
After the 90 to 95 day gestations, the
female bears one to eight cubs in a protected site of rotting bushes or grass.
Births in eastern Africa usually take place from March to June.
The young open
their eyes after eight to eleven days.
Half the cubs die in the first eight months.
STATUS in Natural
Endangered. Almost certain to become
extinct due to the limited gene pool of existing animals.
As its build suggests, the cheetah is a superb runner.
A cheetah can easily attain speeds of 75 mph without undue effort.
This tremendous sprint is accompanied by a great energy loss that leads to
near exhaustion after several hundred meters.
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