How Fast Do Cheetahs Run?


Quick Answer

A study published in 2013 established an individual top cheetah speed of 59 mph. The fastest cheetah, appropriately named Ferrari, ran on a flat track-like surface through vegetation.

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Full Answer

Ferrari's speed was recorded by a team of researchers in Botswana who outfitted wild cheetahs with motion- and acceleration-tracking collars. They measured 367 runs, approximately one-fourth of which ended in a kill. This was the first exhaustive study in several decades. The previous accepted top speed was 64 mph, recorded in 1964.

Team leader, Professor Alan Wilson with the Royal Veterinary College of the University of London, has commented that the researchers learned about a good deal more than maximum cheetah running speeds. Cheetahs rarely run at full tilt. An average top speed of 33 mph was indicative of the cheetahs' need to preserve maneuverability. The researchers also studied hunting tactics, biomechanics and bone composition.

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