The cheetah is best known for its reputation as the fastest land animal over short distances - up to 70 mph.



Cheetahs live on medium-sized prey, such as impalas, gazelles, the calves of wildebeest and zebra, even hares and large birds. A cheetah eats about 2.5kg of meat per day. It drinks about once every four to ten days. When lucky enough to catch an animal (few hunts are actually successful), the cheetah brings it down either by tripping it or knocking it off balance with a blow to the hindquarters. Slower prey is pulled down by hooking a sharp dewclaw into the shoulder or flank and dragging backward. Finally, the cat gets a tight grip on the throat and chokes the animal to death. The cheetah usually eats the kill on the spot, or, if it is not too heavy, drags it to the nearest cover. It can eat up to 14 kg of meat at a time. At least 10% of kills are stolen by other carnivores, such as hyenas and lions. Lions kill cheetahs, given the chance, and predators take over half their young in the first 3 months.

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