The cheetah is by far the rarest and most endangered of all the big cats that we find in the Timbavati. Sadly, today, this species is considered one of the most endangered predators on the planet, with as few as around 4000 remaining in Southern Africa.
So, to maintain awareness about these felines we decided to share some fascinating facts about them, you may already know a few of these, but others may come as a surprise.
- The cheetah is the world’s fastest land mammal. The average full pace speed sits between 75-100km/h range, but there is a recording of one incredible animal that reached 112km/h.
- The entire anatomy of a cheetah is geared towards speed, making this animal one of the most specialised predators on the planet. It has a rudder like tail that helps in turning sharply at full speed, as well as a deep-set chest to allow space for the massive lungs and heart.
- Cheetahs have only a 50% success rate when it comes to hunting. They will usually weigh up the pros and cons of any hunt and will not go in full heartedly if they sense they stand a higher risk of being injured than being successful. Also, they lack the power that other predatory cats possess and are extremely susceptible to losing their kills to lions, leopards, and hyenas.
- The cheetah’s lack of physical strength makes them the most vulnerable of all the cats, they have a mortality rate of up to 70% in certain parts of Africa. Scarily only 5% of these animals make it to adulthood.
- These graceful creatures are outstanding stalkers and contrary to popular belief they sometimes prefer an environment with a small amount of bush cover. This allows them to get within 100m of their prey, an ideal distance from where they can launch their attack.
- Cheetahs are known to be fairly picky eaters, they only enjoy certain organs and will neatly skim the best parts of meat, discarding the rest along with the skin.
- Cheetahs are diurnal animals, hunting during the day, this helps them keep conflict with all the other cats which are nocturnal to a minimum.