The Cheetah

The Cheetah

Height: male: 75 cm (30 inches).
Weight: male: 50 kgs (110 lbs) / female: 40 kgs (88 lbs).
Habitat: Open plains, savannah, woodlands.
Grouping: Solitary, pair for mating.
Breeding: All year, 2-4 cubs.
Diet: Medium - small antelope, warthog, young of the larger animals.


The cheetah is built for speed: light boned, swaybacked, long, thin legs, and short neck The feet are small feet with blunt unsheathed claws. The head is small and round, relatively small teeth; low, broad ears. The coat is short except for ruff of longer hair framing the face and short spinal crest. The color is tawny, with small, solid black spots, white underparts, the outer tail is ringed black and white, and distinctive "tear stains." Cubs have long, silky fur black with faint spots and a cape of long, blue gray hair.

WHERE IT LIVES

The cheetah is still widespread in sub Saharan savannas and arid zones; wherever suitable prey occurs. They can be seen in South African national parks in Northern South Africa, the Serengeti NP, in medium and long grass plains in Tanzania, the Masai Mara NR and Amboseli NP in Kenya, the Etosha NP and private game ranches in Namibia.

ECOLOGY

Although the range includes sparsely vegetated subdesert and steppe, the cheetah needs bushes, grass, or other cover to get within sprinting range of prey and to hide from larger predators. The cheetah is specialized as a predator on gazelles, springbok, and the fleetest of plains antelopes. They also prey on smaller antelopes (oribi, bush duiker) and calves of all the larger antelopes as well as warthog, young zebra, and some small game like hares. They can go 4 days or more without drinking and easily goes 10 days in the Kalahari, where it eats melons.

ACTIVITY

The most diurnal cat, the cheetah is seldom active at night and usually rests during heat of day. Average distance traveled in a day by a female with cubs is 2.3 mi. (3.7 km), compared to 4 mi. (7 km) for males.

South African Cheetah


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