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Cheetah Facts for Kids

Cheetahs are such cool animals and run seriously fast! You certainly wouldn’t be able to catch up with them. Read on for some cool cheetah facts so you’re in the know! 

Their scientific name is ‘Acinonyx Jubatus’ which comes from the word ‘chita’. Any ideas what that means? It means ‘spotted one’.

Well, the cheetah’s name definitely describes it well, don’t you think?!

cheetah facts

Quick Cheetah Facts for kids

  • Instead of roaring, cheetahs meow and purr.
  • Cheetahs have spotted coats that make it easier for them to blend in with their environment.
  • Cheetahs don’t require much water and can go for three or four days without any of it.
  • A typical cheetah pursuit lasts between 200 and 300 meters and lasts less than a minute.
  • A cheetah’s body has evolved for speed with long legs, an enlarged spine, modified claws to grasp the ground, and a long tail for balance.
  • Cheetahs are solitary creatures and adult females usually live alone raising their cubs.

How Many Cheetahs are Left in the World?

Most of these big cats live in eastern and south-western Africa. A few (very few), are left living in Iran.

Cheetahs are considered a threatened species these days with only only 7,000 to 13000 left in the wild. That’s so sad!

Cheetahs have become threatened due to loss of habitat (a place where they live) and decreasing food sources.

great smoky mountains national park

What does a Cheetah look like?

cheetah in a field

Cheetahs are slender athletic cats, much smaller than lions and tigers. They look a bit like leopards, but are much leaner with round spots.

They have slim, muscular long legs, flexible spine and a small round head, all of which help them run very fast.

At the shoulder, an adult cheetah stands around 30 inches tall. It’s body is around 50 to 60 inches long, with a long tail that measures another 30 inches. 

How much does a Cheetah weigh?

An adult Cheetah weighs between 75 to 150 pounds, which means a single male lion weighs as much as 3 adult cheetahs.

How Fast are Cheetahs?

Cheetah is famous for being the fastest land animal, and can reach speeds of 70 miles per hour.  Cheetahs can accelerate to 60 miles per hour (about 97 kilometers) in just 3 seconds. 

cheetah runs very fast

When a cheetah is running at full speed, each stride is often about 20 feet, and when their legs are spread out during a stride, it almost looks like they are flying. Wow!

Where do Cheetahs Live?

Cheetahs can be found throughout eastern and southern Africa, and favor open grasslands where they can run fast and hunt.

Cheetahs do not live in the jungle or rainforest.

Types of Cheetahs

There are five subspecies (types) of cheetahs:

  1. Northwest African Cheetah
  2. South African Cheetah
  3. Asiatic Cheetah
  4. Sudan Cheetah
  5. Tanzanian Cheetah

Baby Cheetah

A baby cheetah is called a cub.

Female cheetahs live alone unless she is caring for her cubs.

A mother cheetah will usually give birth to 3 to 5 cubs, but 6 to 8 cubs can be born in a single litter. 

At birth, Cheetahs are blind, but within 10 days their eyes open and they can see. They get teeth by the time they are 3 week old.

Within 6 months of birth, Cheetah cubs reach half their adult size, and begin to learn to hunt from their mothers.

A mother cheetah usually stays with her cubs for no longer than 18 months after which she leaves them.

The cubs then stay on together for another 6 to 8 months, after which the females will leave on their own and the males will go on to stay together for life.

cheetah cubs

What do Cheetahs Eat?

Cheetahs are carnivores, meaning they eat meat. Cheetahs hunt in the day time.  They do not hunt daily, and usually hunt once in 2 to 4 days.

Female Cheetahs with cubs will hunt daily as she has to feed her cubs.


Cheetahs have excellent eyesight and can spot their prey from far. They then use their great speed to chase down their prey, trip them, and kill with a bite to the neck.

They eat antelopes, warthogs, birds, zebras, gazelles, deer, antelopes and impalas.

After cheetahs catch their prey (food), they will bring it to a shaded hiding place so other animals don’t see it.

Cheetahs do not like to fight. They will give up their prey if a larger, more aggressive animal approaches them, so that they avoid a fight. 

cheetahs for kids

Cheetahs – from the Cat Family 

Cheetahs are mammals like you, which mean that they are warm-blooded.

Cheetahs are in the cat family. That’s hardly a surprise, seeing as though they look like a cat!

Cheetahs are sometimes mistaken for leopards but a cheetah’s spots are more round and they have long black lines that run from their eyes to their mouth called tears.

cheetah round spots

Now you can tell the difference!

How long do Cheetahs Live?

Cheetahs usually live 7 to 10 years in the wild. But they can live up to 16 years in captivity because they don’t have to face predators or fight for food while in captivity.

Related: Animal Group Names.

What Sound Does a Cheetah Make?

Cheetahs produce a variety of different sounds to communicate with each other including growls, purrs that generally denote contentment, chirps (between a mother and her cubs), and an “explosive yelp” heard by humans from 2 km (1.24 mi.) away.

More Interesting Facts about Cheetahs

A cheetah has between 2,000 to 3,000 spots! That is a lot of spots.

Cheetahs do not roar like lions or tigers. They let out a chirping noise when they feel threatened and they purr if they feel happy. How cute is that?

lion roaring

Both male and female cheetahs are called cheetahs.

A cheetah’s predators are lions and hyenas.

Cheetahs eyesight is so good, they can see up to 3 miles in detail. But they lack special night vision unlike most other cats.

Cheetahs only need to drink once every 2 to 4 days and can survive up to 10 days without water.

Cheetahs sleep 12 hours a day and cannot climb trees.

Their claws are rather different from the other big cats and are only semi-retractable. This gives them grip while running.

Cheetahs use their long tail like a rudder, which helps them steer and turn fast while chasing prey at great speed. 

Cheetahs need to breathe at 150 breaths per minute while running at their fastest.

Cheetahs were kept as pets and trained to help people hunt in Ancient Egypt. Even today, some countries in Africa and Western Asia allow domestication of Cheetahs.

So there you have the coolest facts about these awesome creatures! Ready for some more fun animal facts.


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