“The specialist” on safari…

The cheetah is truly “the specialist”  and the most unique cat in many regards.  We all know the cheetah is the fastest land animal (almost twice as fast as a race horse) at speeds reaching 70 mph.  The cheetah has long, slender legs, an enlarged heart and lungs, a short neck, long tail, and a large nasal capacity. The cheetah is the only cat with non-retractable claws. It doesn’t roar.  Instead, it makes a variety of sounds like hissing, barking, purring (the only large cat that purrs), coughing, and even spitting.  It can cover 22 feet in a stride with its paws touching the ground less than 50% of the time while in stride!  There are two points in the stride when the feet don’t even touch the ground, and the cheetah can turn in mid air.  About 50% of the time the cheetah makes the kill–a high percentage compared to other cats;  however, it pays a big price in terms of energy spent.  The cheetah can’t fight like other big cats so it has to eat its food right away before a simba or other large predator comes around.  The cheetah rarely drinks water– she gets most of her fluids from her kills.

_DSC0053100 years ago there were approximately 100,000 cheetahs in the wild from Southwest Asia to Africa; today, it is thought that there are around 12,000 cheetahs left roaming free.

_DSC0099          Which makes coming across scenes like this on safari that much more meaningful.

_DSC0094                               Hopefully they make it.


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