The world’s fastest land animal, the cheetah, is a unique and the most specialized member of the cat family and can reach speeds of 70 mph. Acceleration from 0 to 84 km/hr in just 3 seconds, with a full speed of 110 km/hr, means that the cheetah can out-perform a sports car! Unlike other cats, the cheetah has a leaner body, longer legs, and has been referred to as the greyhound of the cats.
The scientific name for cheetah is Acinonyx jubatus. The genus name, Acinonyx, is interpreted as ‘non-moving claws’, referring to the semi-retractable claws. The species name, jubatus, means “maned”, referring to the mantle on a young cheetah’s back.It is not an aggressive animal, using flight versus fight. With its weak jaws and small teeth, the price it paid for speed, it cannot fight larger predators to protect its kill or young.