Conservation Status: IUCN Vulnerable
- The cheetah's flexible spine, oversized liver, enlarged heart, wide nostrils, increased lung capacity, and thin muscular body make this cat the swiftest hunter in Africa.
- Cheetahs can reach speeds of 110 km/h in seconds. At two points in the stride, no feet touch the ground.
- It can run only 350 to 550 metres before it is exhausted; at this time it is extremely vulnerable to other predators, which may not only steal its prey, but attack it as well.
- Black "tear marks”, which run from the corner of a cheetah’s eyes down the sides of the nose to it's mouth, keep the sun out of it's eyes and aid in hunting.
- Female cheetahs are solitary, and the only time they will live with other cheetahs is when she is caring for her offspring. Male cheetahs live and hunt in groups of up to five animals, often all brothers, and may stay in this group for life.
- Cheetahs make chirping sounds, and hiss or spit when angered or threatened. They purr very loudly when content. Cheetahs are the only big cat that purr.
- The cheetah’s long association with humans dates back to the Sumerians, about 3,000 BC, where a leashed cheetah, with a hood on its head, is depicted on an official seal.