For International Cheetah Day, which is celebrated on December 4, we offer our selection of interesting facts about this amazing creature. Did you know that some scientists jokingly call them aliens from another planet? 👽
- The spots for each cheetah are unique distinguishing features, like stripes in zebras, and help camouflage during hunting. In some cheetahs, spots spread over the entire surface of the body and turn into intense ink blots.
- Cheetahs spend most of their lives resting. They are actively moving only 12% of the day. Animals are primarily characterized by speed, not endurance – in one jump, a cheetah overcomes about 7 meters. It is not surprising that they tire so quickly, and after an unsuccessful hunting attempt, they will rather go to rest than finish the job.
- Cheetahs do not breed in captivity. When they get into conditions different from the usual ones, they often get sick, exterminate relatives, and females neglect their offspring. That is why representatives of this genus of cats are so expensive on the black markets of Africa and Asia: young individuals are specially caught for domestication and are already engaged with them.
- Ancient Romans used cheetahs as hunting animals. In the same way, Asian and Eastern peoples did it because of the extraordinary speed of representatives of felines. In 80% of cases, the cheetah caught up with its prey, which is a remarkable result among predators. Animals are persistently associated with aristocracy and royal power.
- Female cheetahs mostly lead a solitary lifestyle, independently raising kittens until they reach the age of two. With the opposite sex, they meet only for mating. Males gather in flocks more often, while forming a hierarchy. As research has shown, cheetahs feel better in groups and get sick less.
- Scientists believe that during the last ice age representatives of the species almost became extinct. The result was a significant reduction in the population. This has led to the fact that modern cheetahs have signs of genetic mutational diseases due to inbreeding – the crossing of closely related relatives.
- The animal is the weakest of the predatory felines. The jaw is rather weak, the teeth are small, although they are sufficiently developed for a predator. All this did not fit into the cheetah’s anatomy because of the powerful respiratory apparatus. In this way, the animal sacrificed strength in favor of speed. After a normal run for 50-100 seconds, the frequency of breaths is about 150 per minute.
- Matto Berfus, a traveler from Germany, managed to become “his” for a herd of cheetahs. Man lived side by side with predators for four months, who left their cubs for him to care for during the hunt. After the experiment was over, Matto returned to the pack, which, although it recognized him, no longer showed such trust as before.
- Cheetahs are most active at sunrise and in the evening. In hot weather, they mostly rest in the shade, especially since animals can do without food for a whole week after a successful hunt. Cheetahs never feed on a bitch: if the predator did not have time to finish the prey immediately, it will never return to it.
- Cheetahs cannot growl, unlike other representatives of the feline family. They talk to each other in soft chirps, chirps or purrs. If the animals are dissatisfied with something or scared, they have a characteristic hissing.
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