Cheetah ( Acinonyx jubatus )
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The Cheetah is considered to be the fastest animal in the world. It also has been described as the greyhound of the cats. It is spread especially in the eastern parts of Africa where it still inhabits savannas and plains. It used to live in Asia but unfortunately these days they are vanished in that region. Its length ranges from 180 cm to 240 cm (5.8-7.7 feet) with a long and powerful tail measuring up to 85 cm (33 inches). Its shoulders are at the height of 87 cm (34 in). Its average weight ranges from 43-67 kg (92-148 lb).
Acinonyx jubatus has got a very nice spotted fur. Its colour may vary from yellowish gold to brownish with dark spots all over its muscular body. Its aerodynamically shaped body with small head, narrow chest and powerful limbs enable the cheetah to jump and run at the highest speeds in comparison to other animals. Its claws are non-retractable which is pretty unique among the cats. It can reach the speed of 56 mph (90 km per hour) in 3 seconds from a standing start. However it is one of the best runners on the earth, the cheetah can maintain such a fast pace only in short distance runs that do not exceed 300 metres. Unfortunately its stamina is not very good.
The cheetah feeds on a number of mammals including gazelles, ostriches and antelopes. It hunts during the day on its own or in pairs. At first it chooses its prey and sneaks closer while hiding in the bushes or behind the trees. Then it suddenly attacks and kills its prey with its powerful jaw and knife-sharp teeth. The female cheetah gives birth to approximately 4 small young after the gestation lasting about 3 months. Their life span is over 17 years. Cheetahs are quite shy animals that belong to the endangered ones.