HDW ENTERPRISES &
Foothill Felines Bengals/Savannahs
Cheetahs are a member of the cat family Felidae well-known for their incredible speed. It's because of this speed and stealth that the Cheetah is classified with its own genus Acinonyx. The fastest of ALL land animals, cheetahs are also faster than most high-tech sports cars, reaching speeds between 70 -75 mph for 500 yards at a time with the acceleration capability to reach 68 mph in just three seconds.
The word "cheetah" is derived from the Sanskrit word chitrakaya which means "variegated body". In order to be able to run as fast as it does, the cheetah has large nostrils allowing for increased oxygen intake, and an enlarged heart and lungs that work together to circulate oxygen efficiently. Its semi-retractable claws give it excellent traction and the cheetah uses its long, strong tail as a rudder-like means of steering, allowing it to make sharp turns which are necessary when running down prey trying to escape. Unlike "true" big cats, the cheetah, often considered the smallest of the big cats, can purr as it inhales, but cannot roar. (The other big cats can roar but cannot purr, except while exhaling.) The cheetah has very distinctive long "tear-streak" lines that run from the corners of its eyes to its mouth. The body frame of the cheetah is notably different, with its extremely thinner and longer tail. A spotted cat, the cheetah's markings are solid black instead of rosetted (with the exception of the extremely rare marbled King Cheetah, shown below).
The cheetah is a highly vulnerable species, as well as being severely endangered due to the loss of both its habitat and natural prey. Out of all the big cats, it is the least able to adapt to new environments and has always been difficult to breed in captivity. Recently, with increased effort and attention to creating the most natural of environments and providing plenty of privacy, there have been a few zoos and organizations achieving some success with captive breeding programs for the cheetah.
RETURN to HDW's Wild Cats Portrait Gallery
|© 1996-2008 Copyright
by HDW Enterprises, Inc. - All Rights Reserved.
HDW Enterprises, Inc., P.O. Box 418104, Sacramento, CA 95841-8104 (916) 481-CATS ph/fax
http://www.hdw-inc.com e-mail: email@example.com