The cheetah belongs to the small cat family. Cheetahs are now found almost exclusively in Africa, south of the Sahara. A single animal is a cheetah, multiple are cheetahs or cheetahs.
The cheetah measures about 150 centimeters from the snout to the bottom. The tail is again about half as long. Its fur is yellow in itself, but there are many black dots on it. The legs are very thin and long. The body resembles a fast greyhound. The cheetah is the fastest cat and is an excellent hunter.
How do cheetahs live?
Cheetahs live in the savannah, steppe, and semi-desert: there is high grass where they can hide, but few bushes and trees that could disturb the cheetahs’ run. That’s why they don’t live in the forest.
Cheetahs typically eat smaller ungulates, especially gazelles. Zebras and wildebeest are already too big for them. The cheetah sneaks up to the prey about 50 to 100 meters. Then he runs after the animal and attacks it. It can reach speeds of up to 93 kilometers per hour, about as fast as a car on a country road. But he usually doesn’t even last a minute.
Male cheetahs are more likely to live and hunt alone or with their mates. But it can also be larger groups. The females are solitary except when having young. Males and females only meet to mate. The mother carries the cubs in her stomach for about three months. It’s usually one to five. The mother prepares a burrow, a small pit in the ground. It’s always hidden behind bushes. There she gives birth to the young.
A young animal weighs around 150 to 300 grams, which is at most as heavy as three bars of chocolate. The young remain in the burrow for about eight weeks and drink milk from the mother. They have to remain well hidden because the mother cannot defend them against lions, leopards, or hyenas. Most young are also eaten by such predators. The survivors become sexually mature at around three years of age. You can then make young yourself. Cheetahs can live up to 15 years.
Are cheetahs endangered?
Cheetahs used to range from Africa to southern Asia. In Asia, however, they only exist in national parks in the north of present-day Iran. There are at most a hundred animals. Although they are heavily protected, they are threatened with extinction.
About 7,500 cheetahs still live in Africa. More than half of them live in the south, namely in the countries of Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. Most live in protected areas. This creates difficulties with the cattle breeders because the cheetahs also like to eat young cattle.
Many scientists and animal rights activists are helping cheetahs to breed again. However, this is difficult. In 2015, for example, just over 200 cheetahs were born. However, every third cub died before it was half a year old. The African cheetahs are endangered today, some subspecies are even endangered.