Facts about Cheetahs: Cheetahs belong to the same animal family of big cats together with lions, leopards, jaguars, panthers, and tigers. Whereas cheetahs are smaller in size compared to lions or leopard, they are the fastest land animal.

Cheetahs are basically large spotted cats. The scientific name of the Cheetah is Acinonyx jubatus.

Here are a few things you should know about Cheetahs.


1. Where Do Cheetahs Live?

Cheetahs in the wild are currently only found in Africa. The endangered species is only found in the Southern, Eastern and Central Africa savannahs. This is also used to their advantage as camouflage when staking out preys because of the close similarity with their skin.

2. Are there Cheetahs in Uganda?

Yes. In Kidepo Valley National Park


3. Cheetahs are undoubtedly known to be the fastest land animal. Their bodies are basically built for speed, with slim bodies and long thin legs. It can go from 0 to 60 miles an hour in only three seconds while still able to make sharp and sudden turns while running at this speed and hunting.

4. They are smaller than other dangerous animals in the wild weighing up to 45 to 60 kgs. They have aerodynamic bodies and generally lightweight which explain the speed capacity. They can stand up to 3.6 – 4.6 feet tall.

5. They have ‘tear lines’, a line of short fur with black spots that run from the corner of the eyes, all the way down to the nose. This is known for protecting the Cheetahs eyes from sunlight in the hot sunny savannah.

6. The fur of the Cheetah is a pale brown colour covered with black spots. The spots (2,000-3,000) are uniquely tailored to each one of them making them very distinctly different from one another.

7. The paws of the Cheetah are narrow with claws that are slightly curved and semi-retractable. This to the Cheetah has enough traction (spiking in the ground) while running at this terrible speed.

8. The tail of the Cheetah is about a third of its entire body. This can go from 66 to 84 cm (26-33inches long) While running at high speed, the Cheetahs tail provides counterbalance especially when taking those sudden and sharp turns.


9. Cheetahs are carnivores that solely feed on meat. They eat antelopes, gazelles (Thomson’s), impalas and can also feed on smaller animals like birds and rabbits. Sometimes, two cheetahs can take down bigger animals like calves. Despite the environment in which they live, Cheetahs are capable of taking one drink per three days.


10. Cheetahs normally hunt alone but can combine forces when the prey is bigger in size. After carefully stalking the prey, cheetahs will pick out the right moment and chase after the unfortunate animal. Because of the speed, the hunts are normally energy-draining and half the hunts are actually a success. Once the kill is made, they will take the return to a safe place to enjoy their food without disturbances.

11. Cheetahs become sexually active at a very young age. The females can produce at 2 years of age and males at 1 year. There is no specific breeding time and so they can mate and reproduce all year long. They give birth to 2-8 cubs after three months gestation period.

12. Cheetahs can live up to 10 to 12 years in the wild. That is if they are not preyed on by more superior animals in the wild.

13. Females, unlike males, are more loving and sociable. They will keep and take care of the cubs for about 1 year and a half until they are able to fend for themselves.  They will teach them to hunt by catching the prey by the neck and allowing the cub to have the final blow by the neck. The mother will constantly survey the surrounding areas and change sleeping areas to keep any predators away.

14. Male Cheetahs are territorial by nature. They do this by urinating on specific areas to mark them as a territory and using the hind legs to scrape the ground. Unlike female Cheetahs that prefer to live in solitary, males are always creating tribes and territories.

15. Cheetahs have bad night vision and have surprisingly great sight during the day being able to spot prey at 5km away. That is why they resort to hunting during the day when they have a better advantage over their prey.

16. It is the only member of the big cat that does not roar. Instead. The Cheetah makes little noises similar to that of a domesticated cat. They are also known to make birdlike sounds when they are excited and calling to each other, through these sounds, the Cheetahs can differentiate themselves from each other.


17. Although they are strong and faster than any land animal, the Cheetah does not have the best seat on the food chain. It is threatened by other animals like hyenas, lions and humans who constantly prey on them for food and personal gain. According to the wildlife day organization, there are about 7,100 Cheetahs left in Africa putting them at a highly endangered species rate.


As you can see from the above facts, cheetahs are very interesting animals – and should be protected for future generations to see and coexist with. This is done by supporting conservation efforts in research, monitoring and protection of such animals.

One way to do that is via tourism since the proceeds collected by the responsible government bodies directly go back into conservation and the local communities that coexist with such complex ecosystems of rare interesting animals.

Here are some related articles and some of our Safari packages that we think will be interesting to you. You can learn some more animal facts and also take a look at some itineraries for inspiration towards your next Uganda safari adventure.

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