- Name: Cheetah
- Binomial Name: Acinonyx jubatus
- Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
- Diet: Meat (carnivore)
- Range: Africa and Asia
- Length: 44 to 59 inches
- Weight: 46 to 159 pounds
17 Cheetah Facts for Kids
- Cheetahs are large cats and a member of the Felinae subfamily.
- Their binomial name is Acinonyx jubatus.
- Cheetah is pronounced: “Cheat-uh”.
- The cheetah was first scientifically described in 1775 by German naturalist Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber. However, humans have been interacting with cheetahs as early as 3000 BC.
- There are four subspecies of cheetahs. They are the Southeast African Cheetah (A. j. jubatus), Asiatic Cheetah (A. j. venaticus), Northeast African Cheetah (A. j. soemmeringii) and the Northwest African Cheetah (A. j. hecki).
- Cheetahs can be found in Africa and there is a small population of Asiatic cheetahs in Iran, Asia.
- A cheetah will on average have around 2,000 black spots.
- Cheetahs are sexually dimorphic, with the males being on average, larger than the females.
- Female cheetahs are solitary, while males will form groups called coalitions.
- Cheetahs are carnivores and eat meat. Their diet consists of prey that has an average body weight between 51 and 123 pounds (23 to 56 kilograms).
- Male cheetahs in a coalition will work together to bring down large prey.
- Unlike other big cats, such as lions and tigers, cheetahs do not roar. However, they do purr and communicate with chirping-like noises.
- Cheetahs don’t have a specific mating season and breed throughout the year. On average, they have litters of three to five cubs (baby cheetahs). In some rare instances they can have up to eight cubs in a litter.
- Cheetahs are the fastest land animals on the planet. They can reach up to 70 mph (112 km/h) in a short distance sprint. While cheetahs are fast, they can only maintain fast running speeds for a short period of time.
- In 2016, it was estimated the cheetah population was only 7,100 in the wild.
- Cheetahs are considered a vulnerable species by the IUCN and are likely to become endangered if we don’t take steps to protect their habitat.
- Cheetahs are a popular animal in zoos, however they have a high mortality rate (death rate) in captivity.
A close-up photo of a cheetah’s head.
Credit: Smithsonian’s National Zoo
A photo of a cheetah running.
Credit: National Geographic
A photo of a cheetah coalition.
Credit: Mara Meru Cheetah Project
A close-up photo of a cheetah’s teeth
Credit: lamdaman / Flickr
A photo of two cheetahs chasing a fox.
Credit: Anup and Manoj Shah
A photo of a cheetah cub with a gazelle.
Credit: Anup and Manoj Shah
Additional Resources on Cheetahs
- Cheetahs @ Nat Geo Kids – Find more cheetah facts for kids on the National Geographic for Kids website.
- Cheetah – African Wildlift Foundation – See how many cheetahs are left in the wild and their current depletion rate.
- Cheetahs @ LiveScience – Learn more about cheetahs on the LiveScience website.