The 'Acinonyx', known to man as the Cheetah, is Africa's most endangered cat.
This is one of Africa's most interesting animals with some unique characters. The Cheetah is proven to be the world's fastest animal on land. In only 3 seconds it can reach a speed of 110 kilometers per hour. On that speed their strides can go up to 7 meters. Now that is what we call amazing. The Cheetah has a unique body structure which is build for speed and flexibility. The extreme flexibility of the Cheetah’s spine is unique. This allows for more extension during running, making both its stride length and speed possible. The shoulder blade does not attach to the collar bone, allowing the shoulders to move freely. And the hips pivot to allow the rear legs to stretch further apart when the body is fully extended. There are two times in one stride when the cheetah’s body is completely off the ground: once with all four legs extended and once with all bunched under the body.
Female cheetahs typically have a litter of five cubs and live with them for one and a half to two years. Although most of the cubs do not reach adulthood as they are killed by other predators. The cub mortality rate differ from area but is considered as high as 75% in some cases. Young cubs spend their first year learning from their mother and practicing hunting techniques with playful games. Male cheetahs live alone or in small groups, often with their littermates.
Also very unique to the Cheetah is the black "tear marks" they have. It is a distinctive black mark that runs from the eyes to the mouth. It is believed that the unique stripes protect their eyes from the sun's glare. Studies also showed that it helps them focus on their prey when the are hunting. The Cheetah has an average lifespan of 10 - 12 years in the wild. A full grown adult can reach a weight of 35 - 65 kg. The Cheetah also only drinks water every 3 to 4 days. That is enough for them to survive.
The Cheetah has long legs, a flexible spine, the body is narrow and lightweight with long slender limbs. Their muscles allow for a greater swing to the limbs increasing acceleration. Adult cheetahs are easy distinguished from others by their solid black spots. The color and spots are a form of camouflage which helps cheetahs hunt prey and hide form other predators like Lions and Hyena. Their claws can only semi-retract unlike other cats. The town Otjiwarongo in the north of Namibia is considered to be the Cheetah capital of the World. The CCF ( Cheetah Conservation Fund ) makes alot of effort to rehabilitate and protect Cheetahs in Namibia.