Cheetah

Scientifice Name: Acinonyx jubatus

Range and Habitat: Range – throughout Africa, western Asia

Habitat: Varies; desert, open grassland, savannahs

Size: 44 to 59 inches long; tail is 23 to 31 inches; weighs 77 to 43 pounds

Life Span: 10 to 12 years in the wild; up to 16 years in captivity

Gestation: Approximately 3 months; litters may be one to six young, typically three or four cubs

Wild Diet: Small hoofed mammals, birds, rodents

Zoo Diet: Canine meat diet, bones

Habits: Fastest mammal on land. Can reach speeds up to 70 mph over short distances and can reach 45 mph in two seconds. Has excellent eyesight. Claws on all four feet but no protective covering over them like other cats have (non-retractable claws). Only one claw on each foot is sharp. This one is called the dew claw and is higher than the others. The dew claw never touches the ground and is used to knock down prey. Usually lives alone except during mating or when female has cubs. Males will occasionally travel in small groups of two or three. Has few means of defense; blunt claws (for running) and relatively weak jaws and teeth.