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Cheetah, Werribee Open Range Zoo.

The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), is a big cat that occurs mainly in eastren an soothren Africae an a few pairts o Iran. The anly extant member o the genus Acinonyx, the cheetah wis first describit bi Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber in 1775. The cheetah is chairacterised bi a slender bouk, deep chest, spottit coat, a smaw roonded heid, black tear-lik streaks on the face, lang thin legs an a lang spottit tail. Its lichtly biggit, slender form is in sharp contrast wi the robust big o the ither big cats. The cheetah reaches nearly 70 tae 90 cm (28 tae 35 in) at the shouder, an wechs 21–72 kg (46–159 lb). Tho tawer nor the leopard, it is notably smawer nor the lion. Basically yellaeish tan or rufous to greyish white, the coat is uniformly covered wi nearly 2,000 solit black spots.

Cheetah are active mainly during the day, wi huntin its major activity. Adult males are sociable despite thair territoriality, formin groups cried "coaleetions". Females are nae territorial; thay mey be solitary or live wi thair offspring in hame ranges. Carnivores, cheetah mainly prey upon antelopes an gazelles. Thay will stalk thair prey tae within 100–300 metres (330–980 ft), chairge taewart it an kill it bi trippin it during the chase an bitin its throat tae suffocate it tae daith. The cheetah's bouk is specialised for speed; it is the fastest laund ainimal. The speed o a huntin cheetah averages 64 km/h (40 mph) during a sprint; the chase is interspersed wi a few short bursts o speed, when the ainimal can clock 112 km/h (70 mph). Cheetahs are induced ovulators, breedin throughout the year. Gestation is nearly three months lang, resultin in a litter o teepically three tae five cubs (the nummer can vary frae ane tae aicht). Weanin occurs at sax months; siblings tend tae stay thegither for some time. Cheetah cubs face heicher mortality nor maist ither mammals, especially in the Serengeti region. Cheetahs indwall a variety o habitats – dry forests, scrub forests an savannahs.

Clessifee'd as vulnerable bi the IUCN, the cheetah haes suffered a substantial decline in its historic range due taeo rampant huntin in the 20t century. Several African kintras hae taken steps tae improve the staundarts o cheetah conservation. Thanks tae its prowess at huntin, the cheetah wis tamed an uised tae kill gemme at hunts in the past. The ainimal haes been widely depictit in airt, leeteratur, advertisin an ainimation.



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