The cheetah is on the endangered species list, due to loss of habitat, poachers, inbreeding, and attacks by lions. Causing their habitat to become smaller and smaller, has allowed them to inbreed way too much. This has weakened their gene pool, making them more susceptible to disease and death. "Genetic variation" is what evolution is all about. Animals can adapt in changes in the environment if they have a high gene pool. You exist at a price if you have low genetic variation. An example would be to repeat your own clone over and over. This causes a weak clone of yourself, and survival is unlikely. Lions are also a threat to the cheetahs survival, for they kill off their young.
The cheetah can out run their prey, especially out in the open. They have been known to reach speeds of up to 70 mph, and are considered the fastest of all cats. Not being good climbers, and lack of strong muscles, they can not hide their kill in trees like other cats. When a cheetah feeds on it's kill, they usually eat it in the same spot where they killed it.
The cheetah needs it's speed, since it does not have canine teeth to enable it to bring down it's prey easily. Another disadvantage is their claws do not retract. They remain out at all times, and are worn down from friction on the ground.
Their average body weight is between 110 and 130 pounds. The body of a cheetah is one of a sprinter. Their long and flexible body acts like a spring, thrusting it forward with awesome speed to out run their prey.
A cheetah's gestation period is approximately 93 days.
Please get in touch with your local refuge or zoo, and get involved in the preservation of this amazing cat. They do not belong in books and museums as a creature from the past. Let's help them become stronger and stay a part of this world.
For additional genetic information, please visit our Genetics Section.