“The fastest mammal on land, the cheetah is built for speed. Their elongated lower leg bones and long, flexible spines increase the length of their strides to enable short, explosive sprints. Long, muscular tails help keep them balanced at top speeds, and short but can go as fast as 65 miles per hour (105 kph)! “
All this speed comes in handy for the competitive African plains. “Cheetahs are sophisticated hunters that hunt for food during the day. Their sharp eyesight helps them spot prey, which they aggressively pursue for short distances. Following a hunt and kill, a cheetah must recover for up to an hour before it can eat. This means that cheetahs must consume large quantities of meat quickly before another predator—most commonly a lion or a pack of hyenas—can steal their meal.” Learn more about the cheetah from the Mpala Research Guide here.