The Beautiful Cheetah

 Cheetah Poster Even though this glorious Cheetah is the fastest land animal, she is listed in the US Endangered Species Act as a threatened species.

Cheetahs as Pets 

These beautiful animals were once kept as pets by princes and kings, including Charlemagne.  Today, there are less than 13,000 wild cheetahs.

Cheetahs are Beautiful Cats

Because Cheetahs are tameable, they were once owned by kings and princes.  In ancient days, they were used during their hunting parties.  The cheetah would be blindfolded at the beginning of the hunt.  Once the dogs flushed out the prey, the blindfolds were removed and the cheetah were set free to hunt.  Thus, they have often been referred to as hunting leopards. 

Ownership of a cheetah was a bit of a status symbol for royalty in ancient times.  Often in Ancient Egyptian drawings and artwork, you will see a emperor, ruler or king pictured with a cheetah on a leash or in a hunting party.  It is believed that Akbar the Great of India kept a stable of 1000 cheetahs.


Cheetahs are sleek, beautiful animals which are known for being the fastest land animal.  They can run up to 70 miles per hour.  A cheetah can accelerate from 0 to 64 mph in 3 seconds, therefore he is easily able to out run a gazelle or other prey.  Due to the high infant mortality rate and being hunted themselves, cheetahs are considered vulnerable or threatened on the endangered species list.  There are less than 13,000 cheetahs left in 25 African countries.  Although there are some zoos who have been successful, Cheetahs are extremely difficult to breed in captivity which will further exacerbate their critical status.

A Few Facts about Cheetahs

  • Height:  2½ to 3 feet
  • Weight:  110 - 140 lbs.
  • Life Span:  Up to 12 years
  • Top Running Speed:  70 mph
  • The name cheetah comes from an Indian word meaning "spotted one."   Nickname: Hunting Leopard
  • Lives In:  Parts of eastern, central and southwestern Africa and a small portion of Iran
  • Threatened or Vulnerable status on the Endangered Animals list

Cheetahs are in a Classification All Their Own

The beautiful Cheetahs are in a classification of their own because they have non-retractable claws without sheaths of skin.  They have very small heads and teeth.  The Cheetah's teeth are too small and their jaws are too weak to deliver a death bite.  They must suffocate their prey and are often so tired after the battle that they must rest before they can eat.  Unfortunately, a Cheetah's food is often stolen by more aggressive carnivores. 

The Spotted One

Cheetah is an Indian name which literally means the "spotted one".  We can easily see why she was named Cheetah, but have you ever heard a Cheetah roar?   Think about it.  We expect to hear wild cats roar, but the Cheetah does not roar.  No, she cheeps or chirps.  She literally does not have a roaring bone in her body.

For that reason, the Cheetah is not classified as a "big cat".  Big cats roar.  Therefore, the cheetah is scientifically classified as a small cat even though most of us would still consider them big cats.


Listen to a Cheetah Chirp

While you may have heard a Cheetah growl or purr, you will not hear a Cheetah roar, simply because it can not roar like other wild cats.  The cheetah has a one-piece hyoid bone in the throat.  A two-piece hyoid bone is required to roar.

Mother cheetahs communicate with their young by chirping.  Click here to hear the cheetah chirp.  You will be surprised by how much she sounds like a bird.  Seriously, if you heard this sound in a grassy area, I doubt you would feel inclined to run away. 

The Cheetah's Distinctive Marking

Cheetahs As you can see in the photos, Cheetah's have lovely tan coats with black spots and very distinct tear stripes from the corner of their eyes and down the side of their nose, just like the tracks of tears.

When I look at this magnificent creation, I can't help but consider that tear stripe and feel the moisture of my own tears over her endangered status.

To lose such beauty in this world, will indeed, be a great tragedy.  

All photos are the exclusive property of Sylvestermouse and should not be copied without written permission.

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