By BRYANNA SANTOS, age 9

PHOTO: photosbyflick/Flickr
PHOTO: photosbyflick/Flickr

Cheetahs are large and powerful felines that are now an endangered species. There are only 7,000 to 10,000 cheetahs left in the world. One reason they are endangered is because people hunt them for the beautiful pattern on their fur. They once lived across a number of continents, but today the cheetah’s biggest threat is habitat loss. They now primarily live in Africa, Asia and some parts of Europe.

Cheetahs have long, slim bodies that are covered in black spots. Their long tails help them balance and change direction. Strong and powerful hind legs and a flexible, muscular spine enable these cats to run up to 75 miles per hour.

Cheetahs are carnivorous—they kill other animals for the nutrition they need to survive. They have excellent eyesight, which helps them hunt food easily. They mainly eat large herbivores. Some of the cheetah’s prey include gazelles, wildebeests, antelopes, lions, hyenas, eagles, vultures and hares.

Did You Know?

  • Cheetahs are not considered part of the ‘big cat’ family because they cannot roar.
  • Cheetahs can accelerate faster than most cars—from zero to 60 miles per hour in just three seconds.
  • The cheetah’s scientific name is the Acinonyx jubatus.
  • Female cheetahs are pregnant for three months and give birth to two to nine cubs at a time.
  • Cheetahs only need to drink water once every three to four days.