March 6, 2016
This amazing Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a member of the cat family that is the world’s fastest land animal capable of achieving speeds in excess of 100KM per hour.
Although this is uncommon to see in our traversing area, we were lucky enough to see this graceful animal this past week. Less than 10,000 of these magnificent animals exist, mostly in Africa and Iran, with the biggest threat to their survival being habitat loss.
Before unleashing their speed, cheetahs use exceptionally keen eyesight to scan their grassland environment for signs of prey, especially antelope and hares. This big cat is a daylight hunter that benefits from stealthy movement and a distinctive spotted coat that allows it to blend easily into high, dry grasses.
Traditionally, at the right moment, a cheetah will sprint after its prey and attempt to knock it down. Such chases cost the hunter a tremendous amount of energy and are thus over in less than a minute. If successful, the cheetah will often drag its kill to a shady hiding place to protect it from opportunistic animals that will often steal a kill before the cheetah can eat it.
Interestingly, cheetahs need only drink once every three to four days.