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1. The Cheetah is a large cat that occurs in north, east and southern Africa.

2. It is the only extant member of the genus Acinonyx, first described by Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber in 1775.

3. The name cheetah is derived from the Hindi name, cītā which means painted, adorned or variegated.

4. It's scientific name is Acinonyx jubatus, Acinonyx from the Greek words akinitos (motionless) and onyx meaning nail or hoof, reference to the cheetah's non retractable claws. Jubatus means "to have a mane or crest" in Latin.

5. The cheetah's closest relatives are the cougar and the jaguarundi.

6. Cheetahs show a very low genetic variability, suspected to be caused by a bottleneck during the last ice age when only a few animals are thought to have survived.

7. They are the fastest land animal, able to reach a speed of between 105 to 120kmh for brief periods. (About 100m or so)

8. The spot pattern on a cheetah's coat is unique to each animal.

9. Cheetahs are diurnal (active mainly in the day) unlike leopards, lions and tigers which are nocturnal (active at night).

10. They breed throughout the year, gestation is just under 3 months, and they give birth to between 1 and 8 cubs, 3 to 5 being the norm.

Have a look at more of our cheetah photographs.


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