Absolute Predator


Cheetah Speed

Cheetah Speed


It is a well-known fact that cheetah speed can hardly be matched by other land animals. Cheetahs are simply one of the fastest creatures around. There are some disagreements on the maximum speed of cheetahs across sources. It is generally accepted though that their top speed ranges at about 60 mph to 75 mph with many sources citing 70 mph as the maximum speed.  


Cheetah speed however would not be what it is if the cheetah itself were not physically adapted for speed. Compared to the lion and the leopard, the cheetah has a sleeker and leaner body. Although a cheetah is by no means small, its features are smaller compared to other large cats. These are necessary physical features to allow maximum speed. Its small head and sleek neck for example prevent any encumbrances when running. Its long legs and flexible spine allow for longer and better strides. It has padded feet that support quick movement and its claws cannot be retracted completely to allow it to grip the ground as it runs. Aside from its ideal sleek structure, the cheetah also has a unique tail built for speed. It has a long tail that it can use for maintaining balance at top speed.  


For the cheetah, speed is everything. It is a necessary trait that allows them to hunt efficiently in their own unique way. Cheetahs are typically featured running after prey across large expanses of land. This however is not the way real cheetahs begin a hunting session. To conserve energy, cheetahs secretly observe and get near their intended prey. When the prey is caught unaware, the cheetah lets go of a quick burst of "cheetah speed." If a prey attempts to run, a cheetah will topple it over and grip its neck with its teeth to strangle it.  


Since a cheetah needs to see its prey to run after it, it usually hunts in the day. The black streaks running from the side of its eyes to the sides of its mouth protect it from the sun’s glare as it hunts. 


One major disadvantage of cheetah speed however is that it takes a lot of energy away from the cheetah. If it runs at its top speed for a minute or two, it will become exhausted. Hence, if it chooses to run after an elusive prey at this rate, it will quickly lose the energy to pin down its prey. A cheetah will therefore let go of a prospective catch if it can’t get it quickly.  


Cheetahs also have to conserve their energy because they may need the speed to avoid other predators. Once a cheetah catches its food with its incredible cheetah speed, other larger and more aggressive animals may attempt to fight with it for the food. A cheetah is more likely to avoid potentially disastrous confrontations by moving away quickly rather than by facing it head on. This is a good decision on the cheetah’s part since its light body frame and small mouth structures will not stand a chance against large, heavily built aggressors.  


If you consider the basic information about cheetah speed, it is easy to see that the cheetah is every bit a wonder of nature. It is an animal built for a specific purpose and has adjusted well to its nature-endowed traits.  




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