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Welcome to Cheetah Conservation Fund’s Kids page—the purrfect place to start your cheetah studies! From cool cheetah facts to how kids like YOU are helping CCF save the cheetah in the wild.

Unlike other “big cats”, a classification that includes: lions, tigers, leopards, and jaguars) cheetahs don’t roar. They growl when facing danger, and they vocalize with sounds more equivalent to a high-pitched chirp or bubble.

Cheetahs bark when communicating with each other. The cheetah is also unique among big cats in that it can also purr while both inhaling and exhaling.

A lot of kids

A mother cheetah usually cares for anywhere from 2 to 8 cubs per litter, but cubs are often the target of other predators and many do not survive past the first year.

Tail like a rudder

The cheetah has a long, muscular tail that has a flat shape. The tail almost functions like a rudder on a boat because they use it to help control their steering and keep their balance when running very fast.

Special cleat feet

The cheetah has “semi non-retractable” claws (almost like dog claws) that work like the cleats on a football shoe to give the cheetah a lot of traction when running. The pads of most cats’ paws are soft, but the cheetah’s pads are hard kind of like the rubber on a tire. This also helps them grip the ground when they are running so fast.

Tear marks

Like football players, cheetahs have built-in sun glare protection around their eyes. The cheetah’s “tear marks” run from the inside corners of their eyes down to the outside edges of their mouth. These marks help reflect the glare of the sun when they are hunting during the day. They work just like the black marks that football players put under their eyes during the games. These marks also work like the sights on a rifle, to help the cheetah “aim” and stay focused on their prey when they are hunting.

Spotted skin

The cheetah’s fur is covered in solid black spots, and so is their skin! The black fur actually grows out of the black spots on their skin.

Not just a funny haircut

Cheetah cubs have long tall hair that runs from their neck all the way down to the base of their tail, called the mantle.

The mantle makes a cheetah cub look like a honey badger and makes them blend into tall grass, which helps keep them safe from threats like lions and hyenas.

Unique among cats

The cheetah has a long, muscular tail that has a flat shape. The tail almost functions like a rudder on a boat because they use it to help control their steering and keep their balance when running very fast.

A cheetah’s favorite food

Cheetahs are carnivores and feed mostly on smaller antelope like springbok, steenbok, Thomson’s gazelle, and duiker. They usually chase down their prey and then bite its throat, killing it by cutting off its air supply (suffocation).

Illustrations on this page provided by Tess Sheehey

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