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Cheetah
Cheetah

Cheetah

Order- Carnivora, Family Felidae- Acinonyx jubatus
Cheetah are independent of surface water but will drink where it is available. They are the fastest land mammal and specialist chase hunters that make use of a short dash of usually under 300meters and will attain a top speed of over 100km/hr and an acceleration of 0-100km/hr in 3 seconds! Hunting is usually done early in the morning and at sunset but sometimes at midday and on moonlit nights. They have been known to scavenge.
Warning signs from a cheetah include raising of the hair on the neck and back, flattening ears, snarling and hissing. Unless cornered a cheetah will never attack a human and when encountered on foot, so long as you give it an escape route, it will run away.
Cheetah tend to be home-range animals but there is some degree of territoriality. Males are more territorial than females and some males appear to be more territorial than others. Males are more gregarious and often males may be found in groups of up to 5-7 with stable bonds. Females are solitary but her cubs will remain with her usually for more than a year, dispersing during her next pregnancy.
Mating takes place anytime of the year. A litter of about 4 kittens is born after a gestation period of 3 months, weighing about 250g. They will be fully weaned by 3 months and make their first kill at about a year. They will live for about 16 years.
Vocalizations include a bird like chirp that can be heard for several hundred meters. They also hiss, snarl and purr loudly.
L3 Some of the adaptations for hunting include the fact that its claws are not protractile and when sprinting these offer extra purchase on the ground. The chest is deep allowing for very large lungs and  a large heart-to-body ratio. The snout is short and the nostrils large allowing a free-flow of air to the lungs. At full exertion a cheetah will breath 2,5 breaths per second to re-oxygenate the depleted blood and muscles.  The long tail that is relatively thick is used as a rudder to counter-balance the cheetah when having to turn sharply at great speeds.
A thin waist with a highly flexible spine allows the hind legs to come further forward and so giving a longer power-stroke when running.
The young have a very distinct fluffy white mane that extends from the back of the head down the spine and it is thought that this is to mimic the fearsome honey badger and deter possible predators.