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CLASS: Mammalia (Mammals)

ORDER: Carnivora (Carnivores)

FAMILY: Felidae (Cats)

GENUS/SPECIES: Acinonyx jubatus

Cheetah 15Cheetah 15Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, MO

LIFE SPAN: Cheetahs can live up to 10-12 years in the wild, but most do not survive past 8 years old

HABITAT: Cheetahs live in parts of Eastern, Central and Southwestern Africa as well as in a small portion of Iran. They are found mostly in open and partially open parts of the savannah.

DIET: Cheetahs are carnivores (“meat eaters”) and eat mainly gazelles, impalas, wildebeest calves, and other small hoofed animals

Cheetah 5Cheetah 5Kansas City Zoo in Kansas City, Missouri


A male Cheetah is called a male Cheetah

A female Cheetah is called a female Cheetah

A young Cheetah is called a cub

A group of Cheetahs is called a coalition (a group of male Cheetahs who are typically brothers)

The Cheetah is the world’s fastest land animal. They can run up to 70 mph and are able to reach this top speed in only 3 seconds!

The Cheetah has a long, flat, muscular tail that works almost like a rudder on a boat. The tail is used by Cheetahs to help control their steering and to help them keep their balance while they are running fast.

Cheetahs have black “tear marks” that run from the inside corners of their eyes down to the outside edges of their mouth. These marks help reflect the sun’s glare while Cheetahs are hunting during the day. These marks also work like the sights on a gun as they help Cheetahs “aim” and stay focused on their prey while they are hunting.

The social system of Cheetahs is unique among cats. It features solitary females who raise cubs on their own and social males who form coalitions of 2 to 5 to better acquire and defend territories. 


Cheetahs are considered Vulnerable according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. This means that Cheetahs are likely to become endangered unless the circumstances threatening their survival improve. 

In 1900, there were over 100,000 Cheetahs in existence in the wild. Now there are only an estimated 8,000 Cheetahs remaining in the wild in Africa. In Iran, there are an estimated 200 Cheetahs living in small isolated populations.

Habitat loss is a major challenge to the existence of Cheetahs. The Cheetah’s current habitat is only 25% of what it once was.  This habitat loss is bringing Cheetahs into more and more conflicts with people- especially with farmers who are defending their livestock. Cheetahs are being forced to prey upon herd stock due to the dwindling of their habitat, and this is compelling farmers to kill these animals as pests.

Another problem confronting the existence of Cheetahs is the difficulty that they are experiencing with repopulating. Approximately 50-75% of Cheetahs are dying within months of being born.

Cheetah 30Cheetah 30Kansas City Zoo in Kansas City, Missouri


Educate yourself about Cheetahs and their circumstances by reviewing the materials presented below in the Resources section and other materials you may be able to find on your own.

Post messages on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and send emails to your family and friends expressing your concern for the plight of the Cheetahs and encouraging them to become involved as well.

Write letters to your elected officials in Washington DC and to leaders in nations where Cheetahs live explaining why the conservation of Cheetahs is important to you and encouraging these officials to work to help keep Cheetahs from ever becoming extinct in the wild.

Help to improve the environment around you and around the world by working to reduce, recycle, and reuse. This will help eliminate waste and will greatly improve the world in which we all live.

And when you shop at Joe’s Cowtown Photos, you can designate Cheetah-centric programs and initiatives such as The Cheetah Conservation Fund, the National Geographic’s Big Cat Initiative, and the World Wildlife Fund’s Adopt a Cheetah Program as the beneficiary of the charitable portion of your purchase. (For more information on Joe’s Cowtown Photos charitable giving program, Joe's Cowtown Photos Cares!, click here.)

Cheetah 4Cheetah 4Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha Nebraska


ITIS Cheetah Page

The Cheetah Conservation Fund page

Defenders of Wildlife Cheetah Page

Cheetah Outreach page

The National Geographic’s Big Cat Initiative

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species Cheetah page

The African Wildlife Foundation’s Cheetah page

The World Wildlife Fund’s Adopt a Cheetah page

The White House Page

The United States Senate Page

The United States House of Representatives Page

Cheetah 8Cheetah 8Kansas City Zoo in Kansas City, Missouri


The information provided in this Animal Info page was compiled by Joe Hoffman (St. Pius X Elementary School Class of 1986 and Founder/Owner of Joe’s Cowtown Photos) and was proof-read and edited by Anita Striegel (Retired 8th Grade Teacher from St. Pius X Elementary School, Joe’s former teacher!)


To access the Animal Info main page, click here!