Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles You're watching FreeSchool! Let's learn about cheetahs. Cheetahs are the fastest land animals on the planet. There are birds that can fly faster, but nothing on Earth runs faster than a cheetah does. They can accelerate to speeds of 47 mph or 75 kph in less than 2 seconds, and may reach top speeds of 75 miles or 120 kilometers per hour, although they cannot maintain these incredible speeds for long. Cheetahs are mammals. That means that they are covered in fur, they are warm-blooded, and they feed their babies milk. Cheetahs are carnivores, preferring to kill and eat medium-sized prey like impalas, gazelles, and springbok, but they will also eat ostriches, warthogs, and zebras when they are available. Cheetahs hunt in the day, because they track their prey by sight and not by smell. They will stalk up as close as possible to their intended target and then give chase. The chase usually lasts for less than a minute: if the cheetah cannot catch the animal quickly, it will give up, but cheetahs kill about half of the animals that they chase. Once it has made a kill, the cheetah needs to eat as fast as possible before larger predators arrive and steal it. Because they are built for speed and agility, cheetahs are much smaller than other predators, like lions, leopards, and even hyenas. They need their speed and maneuverability to catch food, and so cheetahs will avoid a fight where they might get hurt. Adult cheetahs weigh between 63 and 143 pounds, or 28 and 65 kilograms, and have a head-and body length of up to 55 inches or 140 centimeters. Their tails are quite long for their size, with lengths of roughly three feet or one meter common. This long tail is used to help the cheetah steer and change direction when they are running at high speeds. Cheetahs can be recognized by their spotted fur, long tails, slender legs, and black stripes extending down from their eyes. Something interesting about cheetahs is that, unlike other big cats, they cannot roar. However, they can purr! Cheetahs have small heads to reduce wind resistance, and large nostrils to help them take in more oxygen. They also have enlarged hearts and lungs to help supply blood to their muscles. Their spines are extremely flexible, like springs, allowing them to move incredibly far with each stride - up to 25 feet, or 7 to 8 meters in a single bound. Cheetahs also have special feet, different than the feet of most other cats. Their claws do not retract all the way, giving them better grip, like cleats, and allowing them to run faster. Cheetahs live mostly in the grassy savanna of Africa and the Middle East, although some live in parts of Asia. Throughout history, some people have kept cheetahs as pets, beginning with the Ancient Egyptians. They used the cheetahs to hunt. Kings and emperors for thousands of years kept cheetahs both for pets and for hunting. Today, cheetahs are vulnerable to extinction due to hunting by humans, loss of habitat, and being illegally taken from the wild to be kept as pets. Farmers will sometimes shoot and kill cheetahs because they think they will eat their animals. Only about 10,000 cheetahs remain in the wild, but people are working hard to help protect the cheetah population. Farmers are being taught how to protect their animals without killing cheetahs, and people are trying to protect the places that cheetahs live and the animals they eat so that they will have healthy habitats to live in. I hope you enjoyed learning about the cheetah today. Goodbye till next time!