A question I get often, how fast can a cheetah run?
The cheetah is built for speed, long lean body, small head, long legs. But they are sprinters and not long distance runners such as Painted dogs
A full grown adult cheetah running at full speed, can reach up to 115km per hour (over 70mph). They can do this for only about 400 meters, then are too exhausted to carry on and have to rest, even if they have caught their prey.
One stride is eight meters (26 feet). They can cover 25 meters ( 82 feet) in 1 SECOND!!! This actually makes them fly over the ground in the chase. This means they cover 100 meters in less than 5 seconds. Faster than any man or animal.
They can accelerate faster than any sports car, 0 – 100kph in 2.5 seconds. A golden blur of pure muscle and co-ordination.
The tail is very important at high speeds as it is used as a rudder. Not round but oval and heavy and used for balance. It can move 20 times per second, small movements to maintain balance when turning.
The spine is long and supple bending the hind legs inwards, outside and overlapping the front legs to propel them forward.
The heart is bigger for more oxygen hence more energy
The nostrils are also bigger for more air intake, again allowing more oxygen into the blood.
Their claws are permanently out, like a dog. These claws enable the cheetah a better grip, just as a sprinter uses spiked running shoes. They have one very sharp claw, the dew claw which is used when catching their prey. This claw is further up the leg and is always sharp and bent like a hook for grabbing
Next time you are in a car, check your speedometer at 100kph (70mph). That is a cheetah running speed, almost into top gear.