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Cheetah at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria

Photo © Steven Herbert

Acinonyx jubatus

Interesting facts about Cheetahs

Cheetahs are well-known for being the fastest animal on four legs. Their build is ideally suited for fast speeds but they lack the strength of their competitors such as Lions and Leopard. Unfortunately these beautiful predators are not as common as the other big cats.

Cheetahs catch their prey by chasing them for a short distance and then knocking it off balance. It then suffocates its prey by clamping its jaws on the throat.

Their main food items are medium sized mammals such as Impala, Steenbok and Warthog but they will also go for the young of bigger species. Cheetahs are often chased off their kills by strongers species such as Lion, Leopard and Spotted Hyena.

Cheetahs are normally seen by themselves although females keep their cubs with them for some time and may be seen as a small group.

Females give birth to 2 to 5 cubs, with 3 being the most common number. Cheetah mothers train their young to hunt. At times they may bring smaller prey back alive and encourage the cubs to hunt it.



List of South African Mammals


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This mammal is not part of the Big 5

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