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carnivores
bovid family
other herbivores
carnivores
primates

wildlife (back to intro)

in this section
Civet
Serval
Leopard
Lion
Cheetah
Side-striped Jackal
Wild dog or Cape Hunting dog
Ratel or Honey Badger
Cheetah: Acinonyx jubatus (vulnerable to endangerment)

Characteristics

Weight and Height
males: wt 77-143 lb (35-65 kg), ht 28-36 in (70-90 cm)
females: wt 57-123 lb (26-55 kg), ht 28-36 in (70-90 cm)

Coat
Generally short with fluffy hair on chest, belly and framing the face.

Color
Twany, covered in solid black spots; white underparts; outermost part of tail black and white; black ear backs, lips and nose, along with dark face markings.


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General Locations
The cheetah is spread across much of the sub-Saharan savannas and arid zones in Africa. Generally wherever abundant food is found, so is the cheetah.

The cheetah can be seen in the following National Parks and Reserves: Serengeti NP, Tanzania; Masai Mara NR, Amboseli NP, Kenya; Etosha NP, Namibia.

Habitat
The cheetah requires bushes, grass and other sources of cover so that it can hide from predators and also spring on its prey without being seen. The cheetah is very adept at catching gazelles and springbok, as well as impala, kob, lechwe, and reedbuck. Cheetahs can often go 4 or more days without drinking water and in the Kalahari, for example, can go as many as 10 if there are melons to eat.


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Activity
The cheetah is the most diurnal member of the cat family. The cheetah rests during the heat of the day and is most active early in the morning and later in the evening. On average, a female with cubs will travel 2.3 mi (3.7 km) in search of food while a male will travel as much as 4 mi (7 km) daily.

Social Systems
On the Serengeti Plains, for example, the cheetah lives on a home range of about 300 sq. mi (800 sq. km). Males that are breeding defend territories that are typically 15 to 30 sq. mi (39-78 sq. km).

Cheetahs are not solitary animals which means that they spend much of their lives in coalitions, 40% spend time in pairs and 19% in trios.

Female cheetahs have been proven to stay on the home range of their mother while males have been known to travel 124 mi (200 km) before settling down.


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Reproduction
For cheetahs, mating is year-round with a mating peak during the rainy season. The gestation period is 90 to 95 days and there are typically 3 to 4 (can range from 1-8) cubs per litter. A female can first conceive at 21 months and then will conceive in 18 month-intervals.



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