A cheetah has spots because the spots act as camouflage, helping the animal to blend more effectively into the grasslands where it lives. Not only is its fur spotted, but so is its skin.
The spotted fur of the cheetah helps it to blend into its surroundings so that it can stalk and hunt its prey more effectively. The cheetah's camouflaged hide helps to protect as well by enabling the cubs to hide from lion and hyena predators. Along with containing spots, the fur also develops in a mantle along the head, neck and back of cub. This longer fur gives the cub the appearance of grass blades so that it can more easily stay hidden. Because cheetah cubs are so vulnerable to predation, females usually have large litters to counteract the high infant mortality rate of 90 percent.