Cheetah, note the tear lines

Cheetah

The Cheetah is the fastest mammal on earth, able to reach speeds of upto 112 km/h which they can keep up for a few hundred meters. However being built for speed and losing mass and power; they are unable to fend off even some of the smaller scavengers, and so eat as quickly as possible when they make a kill. They are able to consume 14 kgs in one sitting.

Differentiated from leopards by having complete spots as opposed to rosettes, cheetah when young also have a white mantle on their back for the first 3 months. Typically males have smaller home ranges than females and courtship is particularly strained and aggressive. Because cheetah survival rate is so low, they have as many as 5 cubs. (Gestation is also about 3 months long and cubs are weaned quickly, as they start eating meat even under 1 month of age.)

The cheetars’ skull is extensively modified to allow the jaws to serve as a clamp capable for maintaining a tight throttle hold for up to 20 mins until the prey has died of suffocation. All cats are specialist hunters and learn how to hunt certain prey. Cheetah mothers are particularly attentive at teaching their young how to hook the gazelle with their dew claws (young Cheetahs eat meat very early, at even under 1 month old.)

Cheetah males are often (over 50%) found in coalition groups, not necessarily because they improve their hunting successes (from 35% -depending on prey chosen), but more so because they have better chances of holding territories (for example in the Mara-Serengeti only 4% of single Cheetah males ever hold territory)Territories and preferred routes are marked with sprays of urine, faeces and occasionary by claw-raking.

Longevity about 12 years.

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