Running as fast as 70 miles per hour over short distances, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is the fastest mammal on Earth. Swiftly rushing to make its kill, the cheetah uses its great speed to run down prey after stalking it closely. Yet in spite of its quickness, some victims get away. A fast starter, the cheetah lacks stamina and tires quickly, able only to maintain top speed for a few hundred yards. Keen eyesight makes it easier for the cheetah spot its prey during the day, usually consisting of small to medium sized mammals such as hares, antelope and gazelles.
With long legs and a slender body, this cat can weigh up to 132 pounds (60kg) and grow to a length of seven feet (2.1 meters) from head to tail. The cheetah has claws on all four feet, and its coat is yellowish-brown with black spots. After years of being hunted for its spotted pelt, today the cheetah is an endangered species. With little land left to roam, a few can be found in the Middle East and the grassy plains of Africa.