Q:

What are some fun facts about African cheetahs for kids?

A:

Quick Answer

The cheetah is a wildcat that lives in the grasslands of Africa and a small portion of western Asia. Perhaps the most notable fact about this creature is its speed. Scientists have clocked it at running up to 70 miles per hour.

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Full Answer

The cheetah's speed enables it to pursue fast-paced prey such as gazelles. At top speed, a cheetah's stride can cover 21 feet with the feet only hitting the ground twice. Although it can run at such a speed, it quickly tires out and can only pursue a chase for a short distance. Because of this, the animal must sneak up as close as possible to its prey, which is where its coat comes in. The color and spotted pattern of a cheetah enables it to effectively blend in to its grassland environment.

The cats's anatomy aids it in its fast-paced life. In addition to a slender build, the cheetah's tail acts like rudder to both steer it and prevent it from losing its balance during a high-speed pursuit. In addition, its feet have hard pads to aid in traction, as well as claws that grip the ground during a run and then are used to disembowel the prey .

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