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Cheetah Gifts

The cheetah is an atypical member of the cat family that is unique in its speed, while lacking climbing abilities. The species is the only living member of the genus Acinonyx. It is the fastest land animal, reaching speeds between 112 and 120 km/h (70 and 75 mph) in short bursts covering distances up to 460 m (1,510 ft), and has the ability to accelerate from 0 to 103 km/h (64 mph) in three seconds, faster than most supercars. The cheetah is a vulnerable species. Out of all the big cats, it is the least able to adapt to new environments. It has always proved difficult to breed in captivity, although recently a few zoos have managed to succeed at this. Once widely hunted for its fur, the cheetah now suffers more from the loss of both habitat and prey. The cheetah was formerly considered to be particularly primitive among the cats and to have evolved approximately 18 million years ago. New research, however, suggests that the last common ancestor of all 40 existing species of felines lived more recently than that—about 11 million years ago.

Asiatic Cheetahs

The fastest land mammal, Asiatic Cheetah, like other subspecies of this amazing big cat, is built for speed. A long and sleek body is balanced on slim, athletic legs with semi-retractable claws that enable the cat to maintain grip on ground in high speed pursuits. Weighing in the range of eighty to one hundred and fifty pounds, it is between four to five feet in length with a near two and a half feet tail that acts as a rudder to stabilize the Cheetah as it makes quick turns in hunts. Height is about two and a half feet. Fur color is tawny and hair are short and coarse. Black spots mark the length of the body. Head is small and eyes are high set. Dark tear like markings that run from the inside corners of eyes, across the side of nose to mouth are thought to protect the Cheetah's eyes from direct impact of sun's rays as it chases its prey in bright daylight.

Residing in the barren lands of Iran, Cheetah is a traditionally a daytime hunter. In Africa this is an adaptation to avoid conflict with other bigger predators like lions, hyenas and leopards that are active at night. Little is known about the behavior and habits of the Asian Cheetah, though it is known to prey upon gebeer and goitered gazelle, wild goat and urial sheep. Cheetahs have strong jaws and kill by the throat hold that suffocates the prey animal. It is estimated that if they come within two hundred yards of the prey by taking cover from bush and grass, avoiding notice, then they have a reasonable chance of success in making the kill. Unlike other big cats, Cheetahs can be tamed and were used for centuries by maharajahs in India to bring down gazelle, earning the title of 'hunting leopard'.

Acinonyx Jubatus Venaticus, the Asiatic Cheetah is currently recorded in desert and semi-arid shrubland in scattered regions in Iran. Some unconfirmed sightings have been made in the past in the Balochistan province of Pakistan, however there is no evidence to back them up. Cheetahs are to an extent migratory cats and often move around in search for prey. This is particularly true in case of females who don't hold as strongly to a territory as males.

Not much is known about the reproductive profile of Asiatic Cheetah. Mid winter is believed to be the peak breeding season for the cats even though they have been documented to mate year round. Litter size is reported to be between one to four cubs with two being the average. Independence is probably reached at eighteen months. Lifespan is up to twelve to fourteen years.

About the Author
The author is a blogger about cats and an expert on cheetah.




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