Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Cheetah

Acinonyx jubatus

The cheetah is a large feline inhabiting most of Africa and parts of Iran. It is the only extant member of the genus Acinonyx. The cheetah can run faster than any other land animal— as fast as 112 to 120 km/h (70 to 75 mph) in short bursts covering distances up to 500 m (1,600 ft), and has the ability to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in three seconds. Its main hunting strategy is to run down swift prey such as various antelope species and hares. Almost every facet of the cheetah’s anatomy has evolved to maximize its success in the chase, the result of an evolutionary arms race with its prey. Due to this specialization, however, the cheetah is poorly equipped to defend itself against other large predators, with speed being its main means of defense.

© 2021 WNET. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.