Cheetah

Acinonyx jubatus

The cheetah is a large-sized feline inhabiting most of Africa and parts of the Middle East.The cheetah achieves by far the fastest land speed of any living animal—between 112 and 120 km/h in short bursts covering distances up to 500 m, and has the ability to accelerate from 0 to over 100 km/h in three seconds.
Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)  Acinonyx jubatus,Botswana,Cheetah,Geotagged,Summer

Appearance

The cheetah's chest is deep and its waist is narrow. The coarse, short fur of the cheetah is tan with round black spots measuring from 2 to 3 cm across, affording it some camouflage while hunting. There are no spots on its white underside, but the tail has spots, which merge to form four to six dark rings at the end. The tail usually ends in a bushy white tuft. The cheetah has a small head with high-set eyes. Black "tear marks" running from the corner of its eyes down the sides of the nose to its mouth keep sunlight out of its eyes and aid in hunting and seeing long distances. Although it can reach high speeds, its body cannot stand long distance running, because it is more suited to short bursts of speed.

The adult cheetah weighs from 35 to 72 kg. Its total head-and-body length is from 110 to 150 cm, while the tail can measure 60 to 84 cm in length. Cheetahs are 66 to 94 cm tall at the shoulder. Males tend to be slightly larger than females and have slightly bigger heads, but there is not a great variation in cheetah sizes and it is difficult to tell males and females apart by appearance alone. Compared to a similarly sized leopard, the cheetah is generally shorter-bodied, but is longer tailed and taller tall) and so it appears more streamlined.

Some cheetahs have a rare fur pattern mutation of larger, blotchy, merged spots. Known as "king cheetahs," they were once thought to constitute a separate subspecies but are in fact African cheetahs; their unusual fur pattern is the result of a single recessive gene. The "king cheetah" has only been seen in the wild a handful of times, but it has been bred in captivity.


The cheetah's paws have semi-retractable claws , offering extra grip in its high-speed pursuits. The ligament structure of the cheetah's claws is the same as those of other cats; it simply lacks the sheath of skin and fur present in other varieties, and therefore the claws are always visible, with the exception of the dewclaw. The dewclaw itself is much shorter and straighter than that of other cats.

Adaptations that enable the cheetah to run as fast as it does include large nostrils that allow for increased oxygen intake, and an enlarged heart and lungs that work together to circulate oxygen efficiently. During a typical chase, its respiratory rate increases from 60 to 150 breaths per minute. While running, in addition to having good traction due to its semi-retractable claws, the cheetah uses its tail as a rudder-like means of steering to allow it to make sharp turns, necessary to outflank prey animals that often make such turns to escape.

Unlike "true" big cats, the cheetah can purr as it inhales, but cannot roar. By contrast, the big cats can roar but cannot purr, except while exhaling. The cheetah is still considered by some to be the smallest of the big cats. While it is often mistaken for the leopard, the cheetah does have distinguishing features, such as the aforementioned long "tear-streak" lines that run from the corners of its eyes to its mouth, and spots that are not "rosettes". The thinner body frame of the cheetah is also very different from that of the leopard.

The cheetah is a vulnerable species. Of all the big cats, it is the least able to adapt to new environments. It has always proved difficult to breed in captivity, although recently a few zoos have managed to succeed at this. Once widely hunted for its fur, the cheetah now suffers more from the loss of both habitat and prey.

The cheetah was formerly considered to be particularly primitive among the cats and to have evolved approximately 18 million years ago. New research, however, suggests the last common ancestor of all 40 existing species of felines lived more recently than that—about 11 million years ago. The same research indicates the cheetah, while highly derived morphologically, is not of particularly ancient lineage, having separated from its closest living relatives around five million years ago. These felids have not changed appreciably since they first appeared in the fossil record.
Mmmm impala starting to look around for the evening hunt Acinonyx jubatus,Botswana,Cheetah,Geotagged

Naming

Although many sources list six or more subspecies of cheetah, the taxonomic status of most of these subspecies is unresolved. ''Acinonyx rex''—the king cheetah —was abandoned as a subspecies after it was discovered that the variation was caused by a single recessive gene. The subspecies ''Acinonyx jubatus guttatus'', the woolly cheetah, may also have been a variation due to a recessive gene. Some of the most commonly recognized subspecies include:

⤷  Asiatic cheetah : Asia
⤷  Northwest African cheetah : Northwest Africa and western Africa
⤷  ''Acinonyx jubatus raineyii'': eastern Africa
⤷  ''Acinonyx jubatus jubatus'': southern Africa
⤷  ''Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii'': central Africa
⤷  ''Acinonyx jubatus velox''
Cheetah

Status

Cheetah cubs have a high mortality rate due to predation by other carnivores, such as the lion and hyena, and perhaps genetic factors. It has been suggested that the low genetic diversity of cheetahs is a cause of poor sperm, birth defects, cramped teeth, curled tails, and bent limbs. Some biologists even believe that they are too inbred to flourish as a species. Note, however, that they lost most of their genetic diversity thousands of years ago, and yet seem to have only been in decline in the last century or so, suggesting factors other than genetics are mainly responsible.

Cheetahs are included on the International Union for Conservation of Nature list of vulnerable species as well as on the US Endangered Species Act: threatened species - Appendix I of CITES . Approximately 12,400 cheetahs remain in the wild in twenty-five African countries; Namibia has the most, with about 2,500. Another fifty to sixty critically endangered Asiatic cheetahs are thought to remain in Iran. There have been successful breeding programs, including the use of in vitro fertilisation, in zoos around the world.

Founded in Namibia in 1990, the Cheetah Conservation Fund's mission is to be the world’s resource charged with protecting the cheetah and ensuring its future on our planet. The organization works with all stakeholders within the cheetah’s ecosystem to develop best practices in research, education and ecology and create a sustainable model from which all other species, including people, will benefit.

The South African Cheetah Conservation Foundation has close links and assists in training and sharing program successes with other countries where cheetahs live, including Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Iran and Algeria. The organization's international program includes distributing materials, lending resources and support, and providing training through Africa and the rest of the world.
cat and dog stand off A lot of noise, but no real intent. The dogs (19 in all) just wanted the competition off their patch and the cheetah, a mother with three 18 month female cubs, were looking for peace and quit. Acinonyx jubatus,Botswana,Cheetah,Geotagged,cheetah,wild dogs

Behavior

Females reach maturity in twenty to twenty-four months, and males around twelve months , and mating occurs throughout the year. A study of cheetahs in the Serengeti showed females are sexually promiscuous and often have cubs by many different males.

Females give birth to up to nine cubs after a gestation period of ninety to ninety-eight days, although the average litter size is three to five. Cubs weigh from 150 to 300 g at birth. Unlike some other cats, the cheetah is born with its characteristic spots. Cubs are also born with a downy underlying fur on their necks, called a ''mantle'', extending to mid-back. This gives them a mane or Mohawk-type appearance; this fur is shed as the cheetah grows older. It has been speculated this mane gives a cheetah cub the appearance of the honey badger , to scare away potential aggressors. Cubs leave their mother between thirteen and twenty months after birth. Life span is up to twelve years in the wild, but up to twenty years in captivity.

Unlike males, females are solitary and tend to avoid each other, though some mother/daughter pairs have been known to be formed for small periods of time. The cheetah has a unique, well-structured social order. Females live alone, except when they are raising cubs and they raise their cubs on their own. The first eighteen months of a cub's life are important; cubs must learn many lessons, because survival depends on knowing how to hunt wild prey species and avoid other predators. At eighteen months, the mother leaves the cubs, who then form a sibling group that will stay together for another six months. At about two years, the female siblings leave the group, and the young males remain together for life.
Cheetah at Waterhole Lovely watching this cheetah drinking in the golden hour, we were shortly joined by a leopard and a hyena. This cat, we were told, had held his territory for 5 years and showed his awareness as he slunk away through some dry channels whilst his enemies remained totally unaware. Acinonyx jubatus,Botswana,Cheetah,Geotagged

Habitat

There are several geographically isolated populations of cheetah, all of which are found in Africa or southwestern Asia. A small population survive in the Khorasan Province of Iran, where conservationists are taking steps to protect them. There have also been several unconfirmed reports of Asiatic Cheetahs in the Balochistan province of Pakistan, with at least one dead animal being discovered recently.

The cheetah thrives in areas with vast expanses of land where prey is abundant. The cheetah likes to live in an open biotope, such as semidesert, prairie, and thick brush, though it can be found in a variety of habitats. In Namibia, for example, it lives in grasslands, savannahs, areas of dense vegetation, and mountainous terrain.

In much of its former range, the cheetah was tamed by aristocrats and used to hunt antelopes in much the same way as is still done with members of the greyhound group of dogs.
Cheetah || Kalahari desert || Oct 2018
https://www.facebook.com/MohammedSalmanPics/ Acinonyx jubatus,Cheetah

Reproduction

Females reach maturity in twenty to twenty-four months, and males around twelve months , and mating occurs throughout the year. A study of cheetahs in the Serengeti showed females are sexually promiscuous and often have cubs by many different males.

Females give birth to up to nine cubs after a gestation period of ninety to ninety-eight days, although the average litter size is three to five. Cubs weigh from 150 to 300 g at birth. Unlike some other cats, the cheetah is born with its characteristic spots. Cubs are also born with a downy underlying fur on their necks, called a ''mantle'', extending to mid-back. This gives them a mane or Mohawk-type appearance; this fur is shed as the cheetah grows older. It has been speculated this mane gives a cheetah cub the appearance of the honey badger , to scare away potential aggressors. Cubs leave their mother between thirteen and twenty months after birth. Life span is up to twelve years in the wild, but up to twenty years in captivity.

Unlike males, females are solitary and tend to avoid each other, though some mother/daughter pairs have been known to be formed for small periods of time. The cheetah has a unique, well-structured social order. Females live alone, except when they are raising cubs and they raise their cubs on their own. The first eighteen months of a cub's life are important; cubs must learn many lessons, because survival depends on knowing how to hunt wild prey species and avoid other predators. At eighteen months, the mother leaves the cubs, who then form a sibling group that will stay together for another six months. At about two years, the female siblings leave the group, and the young males remain together for life.
cheetah_bloody_face_staring a cheetah taking a break from feasting on a baby wildebeest Acinonyx jubatus,Cheetah,Geotagged,Summer,Tanzania,africa,blood,serengeti

Food

The cheetah is a carnivore, eating mostly mammals under 40 kg , including the Thomson's gazelle, the Grant's gazelle, the springbok and the impala. The young of larger mammals such as wildebeests and zebras are taken at times, and adults too, when cheetahs hunt in groups. Guineafowl and hares are also prey. While the other big cats often hunt by night, the cheetah is a diurnal hunter. It hunts usually either early in the morning or later in the evening when it is not so hot, but there is still enough light.

The cheetah hunts by vision rather than by scent. Prey is stalked to within 10–30 m , then chased. This is usually over in less than a minute, and if the cheetah fails to make a catch quickly, it will give up. The cheetah has an average hunting success rate of around 50%.

Running at speeds between 112 and 120 km/h puts a great deal of strain on the cheetah's body. When sprinting, the cheetah's body temperature quickly elevates. If it is a hard chase, it sometimes needs to rest for half an hour or more.

The cheetah kills its prey by tripping it during the chase, then biting it on the underside of the throat to suffocate it; the cheetah is not strong enough to break the necks of the four-legged prey it mainly hunts. The bite may also puncture a vital artery in the neck. Then the cheetah proceeds to devour its catch as quickly as possible before the kill is taken by stronger predators.

The diet of a cheetah is dependent upon the area in which it lives. For example, on the East African plains, its preferred prey is the Thomson's gazelle. This small antelope is shorter than the cheetah tall and 70–107 cm long), and also cannot run faster than the cheetah ), which combine to make it an appropriate prey. Cheetahs look for individuals which have strayed some distance from their group, and do not necessarily seek out old or weak ones.
Cheetah with a soulful look Namibia is a great place to see cheetahs (I believe that they have more than anywhere else) and in many case you can just drive right up next to them. Acinonyx jubatus,Cheetah,Geotagged,Namibia,Spring,namibia

Cultural

* In Titian's ''Bacchus and Ariadne'' , the god's chariot is borne by cheetahs . Cheetahs were often associated with the god Dionysus, whom the Romans called Bacchus.
⤷  George Stubbs' ''Cheetah with Two Indian Attendants and a Stag'' also shows the cheetah as a hunting animal and commemorates the gift of a cheetah to George III by the English Governor of Madras, Sir George Pigot
⤷  ''The Caress'' , by the Belgian symbolist painter Fernand Khnopff , is a representation of the myth of Oedipus and the Sphinx and portrays a creature with a woman's head and a cheetah's body .
⤷  André Mercier's ''Our Friend Yambo'' is a curious biography of a cheetah adopted by a French couple and brought to live in Paris. It is seen as a French answer to ''Born Free'' , whose author, Joy Adamson, produced a cheetah biography of her own, ''The Spotted Sphinx'' .
⤷  ''Hussein, An Entertainment'', a novel by Patrick O'Brian set in India of the British Raj period, illustrates the practice of royalty keeping and training cheetahs to hunt antelopes.
⤷  The book ''How It Was with Dooms'' tells the true story of a family raising an orphaned cheetah cub named Duma in Kenya. The films ''Cheetah'' and ''Duma'' were both loosely based on this book.
⤷  The animated series ThunderCats had a main character who was an anthropomorphic cheetah named Cheetara.
⤷  In 1986 Frito-Lay introduced an anthropomorphic cheetah, Chester Cheetah, as the mascot for their Cheetos.
⤷  ''Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle'' has a subplot involving an escaped cheetah, which later smokes cannabis with the pair and allows them to ride it.
⤷  Comic book superheroine Wonder Woman's chief adversary is Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva, alias The Cheetah.
⤷  On the CGI animated show Beast Wars: Transformers, Cheetor, one of the main characters on the Maximal faction, had the beast form of a cheetah. This was also carried over as the beast form of the Cheetor Hasbro transformer.
⤷  The Japanese anime ''Damekko Dōbutsu'' features a clumsy but sweet-natured cheetah named Chiiko.
⤷  The first release of Apple Inc.'s Mac OS X was code-named "Cheetah", which set the pattern for the subsequent releases being named after big cats.
⤷  In ''Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light'' the character Witterquick as the totem of a Cheetah and could turn into one.

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