What Is the Life Cycle of a Cheetah?

Newborn cheetahs remain hidden until they are 5 or 6 weeks old. During the next year, the young cubs learn life skills like hunting from their mom. They wean around 3 months old, but they stay with their mom until they are 1 1/2 to 2 years old. Cheetahs may live up to 17 years, with eight to 12 years being the average.

Female cheetahs live alone most of the time except when raising their cubs. They associate with other cheetahs only when mating, which begins at 21 or 22 months of age. While cheetahs can copulate at any time, they usually do so in the dry season. After three months, at the beginning of the wet season, female cheetahs give birth to three cubs on average. Cub mortality is quite high, with 90 percent of the cubs dying before they are 3 months old.

Male cheetahs usually live in small groups called coalitions, which have, on average, two to four brothers. When males are drawn to mate with female cheetahs, only one male from the coalition does so with a specific female cheetah. Cheetahs typically hunt in the middle of the day to avoid lions and leopards, but their catches can be stolen by larger animals such as vultures.