In South Africa we went to a cheetah rescue center (the Ann van Dyk center). At the rescue center we learned about cheetahs and even got to touch one! The one we got to touch was a young male cheetah.
|Petting a cheetah!|
The rescue center started a cheetah breeding program in 1971. Before that, only 100 cubs total had been born in captivity. They have bred 720 cubs since the breeding program was started. They even helped get cheetahs removed from the endangered list!
Cheetahs have an oval tail that helps them with speed. When they're running, cheetahs actually spend most of the time in the air between strides. The fastest cheetah recorded ran... 75 miles an hour! The cheetah was a female one; they are faster and lighter. Cheetahs' average speed is 37-49 miles per hour. Cheetahs hunt every 2 or 3 days. They have 1,600 - 2,000 spots!
At the rescue center they have another kind of cheetah called a king cheetah. There are 200 king cheetahs in the wild. King cheetahs can't camouflage as well. They thought the king cheetah was a sub-species, but at this rescue center they discovered that it was not. It was really caused by a recessive gene. If both parents have it, you have a chance that a king cheetah cub would be born.
I loved going to the rescue center, and cheetahs are one of my favorite animals!
|Cheetahs being fed at the rescue center|