By Victoria Olsen
Cheetahs are not your ordinary big cat for several reasons, one of which is that they're the world's fastest land animals. The cheetah is an endangered species. This is mainly due to poachers who hunt and kill this animal for its fur, body parts, and organs. Its coat is very coarse and is a gold like color including about 2,000 round black spots, which can be used as for camouflage. On its face it has "tear strips" running from its eyes to its nose. They are only about 3 to 4 ÃÂ½ feet long. Not including tail length which is another 2 feet.
The cheetah's chest is deep and its waist is narrow. The coarse, short fur of the cheetah is tan with round black spots, giving it some camouflage while hunting. There are no spots on its white stomach, but the tail has spots, which merge to form four to six dark rings at the end.
The tail usually ends in a bushy white tuft. They have black "tear marks" that run from the corner of its eyes down the sides of the nose to its mouth keep sunlight out of its eyes and help in hunting and seeing long distances. It has a thin and fragile body that make it suited to short bursts of high speed, but not to long-distance running. The cheetah's paws have semi-retractable claws (known only in three other cat species: the fishing cat, the flat-headed cat, and the Iriomote cat), offering extra grip in its high-speed hunts. Other adaptations that enable the cheetah to run as fast as it does include large nostrils that allow for increased oxygen intake, and an enlarged heart and lungs that work together to circulate oxygen.
There are several geographically remote populations of...