Cheetahs are graceful predators of the African bushveld and we’ve had the pleasure of having a good few sightings of the majestic animals.
Here are some interesting facts about cheetahs that maybe you didn’t know:
- Cheetahs are one of the few species of cat that have only partially retractable claws. This means they cannot retract their claws like our cats at home can.
- It is the fastest land animal that can reach speeds up to 120 km/h and accelerate to 100 km/h in 3 seconds. While this speed is phenomenal, it can only be maintained for up to 500 meters before the cheetah has to call off the hunt.
- Lions are one of the main causes of cheetah mortality. Either by killing the young, or taking food from the adults and causing them to starve.
- The black ‘tears’ that are a characteristic feature of the cheetah are to reduce glare from the sun and assist them in seeing long distances.
- Cheetahs don’t have a mating season, they can mate throughout the year and they do not necessarily have one partner for life. Females can often have cubs from many different males.
- Up to nine cubs can be born at once after a gestation period of up to 98 days. As mentioned earlier, lions are a big threat to cheetahs and up to 90% of the cubs will not reach maturity.
- Cheetah males, either brothers from the same litter or lone males, may join up together and form a group that will spend their whole lives together. This group is called a coalition.
- The cheetahs diet consists of hares and small antelope such as Impala, Springbok and Blesbok.