Cheetah Fact Sheet

Common Name:


Scientific Name:

Acinonyx jubatus

Wild Status:



Savannahs, Dry & Scrub forests


Iran, and many countries in Africa


Trees and high grasses

Life Span:

Up to 8 years in the wild, 10-12 in captivity, but up to 20 years is possible.


2.2 - 3.1 feet at shoulder, 46-160 pounds

Cool Facts:

  • There is a mutation known as the "King Cheetah" that exhibits 3 dark stripes going down the back, instead of the usual spots all over.
  • Cheetahs are diurnal (active during the day), while other big cats such as lions and leopards are nocturnal.
  • Cheetahs can reach speeds of 60 or even 70 mph, but only for short bursts of just about one mile. Their average speed is roughly 40 mph.
  • The closest relatives of the Cheetah are the cougar and the jaguarundi.
  • Throughout history, Cheetahs have been tamed by humans and used as hunting companions since they usually show little aggression towards humans.


The fastest land animal of all, the Cheetah is one of the "honorable mentions" when talking about the category of big cats. Unlike the main big cats, Cheetahs cannot roar, however their speed and agility makes them cunning apex predators nonetheless. Their diet mainly consists of gazelles and antelopes, although they can go for many other animals such as buffalo, giraffes, zebra, and more. After stalking their prey they begin the charge to trip and take them down. All subspecies of Cheetah are found in Africa except for the Asiatic Cheetah, a subspecies that is Critically Endangered and believed to have less than 50 individuals remaining in Iran.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Carnivora Suborder: Feliformia Family: Felidae Genus: Acinonyx Species: A. jubatus

Conservation & Helping:

The Cheetah is currently Vulnerable on the Endangered Species list. The main issues threatening these animals is the illegal pet trade, poaching, and loss of habitat from conflict with humans. The Asiatic Cheetah and the Northwest African Cheetah are both Critically Endangered subspecies.

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