Cheetahs now mostly populate Africa and sparsely distributed in Asia and the Middle East. They live on most parts of Africa except rainforests.
The cheetahs have black spots on their golden color fur. Their height is about 30 - 36 inches (76.2 - 91.4cm) and weigh around 86 -143 pounds (39 -64.9kg). The cheetah is the fastest land animal in the whole world. They can accelerate from 0 to 60 (0 - 96.6kg) in 3 seconds. These sprinters can reach as fast as 70 miles per hour (112.6 km/hr). They cannot run long distances. At about every 300 yards (275.3m) they have to stop for a rest. The reasons why they can obtain such top speed are that cheetahs have special claws that give them traction and flexible spines that act as springs to add to their thrust. The average life span is 12 years in the wild, and 17 years in captivity.
Cheetahs' favorite food is the antelope. They, however, also eat gazelles, impala, wildebeest calves, other hoofed animals, and hares.
They produce 1 - 5 cubs. The average gestation period is about 91 - 95 days.
Cheetahs are endangered in most parts of Africa. They are probably near extinction in Asia and the Middle East. They are threatened by the loss of habitat and fur trade. People also kill them because they are considered a pest. In the 1960s alone the United States bought about 5,000 cheetah skins for coats, shoes, handbags, and other accessories.
Now the cheetah population is climbing gradually. Conservationists are striving to save these creatures. In Africa, the cheetahs are protected in national parks, and refuges. They are also being captive bred.