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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

19 Fang-tastic Facts About The King Cheetah For Kids

King cheetah facts such as it is a subspecies of cheetahs

The King cheetah is a mutated variant of cheetahs and is extremely rare. King cheetahs are one of the rarest animals in the world and are found mainly in Africa. First noted in Africa by a naturalist from Britain named Reginald Innes Pocock in 1927, the king cheetahs were first considered to be a separate species of the regular cheetahs. This separate species was also given the scientific nomenclature of Acinonyx rex. But due to lack of any evidence, this claim by the naturalist was reversed in 1939. The king cheetah was found to be a mutation caused by a recessive gene. The king cheetah is also known as Cooper's cheetah named after Major A. Cooper who first discovered the species in 1926.

This species or variation of the cheetahs called the king cheetahs are found specifically in southern Africa and many sightings have now been encountered in Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa. There are many conservation centers too in South Africa. A captive breeding facility in South Africa called Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre is known to cater to South African cheetahs and other animals found in the Magaliesberg mountain range in the North West Province of South Africa. The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre in South Africa is also known for being the first breeder of the rare king cheetah. The center proved crucial in proving that the king cheetah is similar to the regular cheetah with a variation of coat pattern and coloring. There are only a few species of king cheetahs left in the world with the world population of king cheetahs calculated to be less than 30 individuals currently.

For more relatable content, check out these cheetah facts and blue whale facts.

King Cheetah Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a king cheetah?

King cheetah is a regular cheetah with a rare mutation. At first, the species was said to be a cross between a hyena and a leopard. It was also thought to be a subspecies of cheetah, but due to lack of evidence, all claims were discarded.

What class of animal does a king cheetah belong to?

King cheetahs fall under the class of Mammalia in the kingdom of Animalia.

As it was earlier thought of as a separate species, it is now considered a variant of the typical cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) caused by a mutation of a recessive gene.

How many king cheetahs are there in the world?

It has been found that fewer than 50 king cheetahs are currently found on the African continent. Among these 50 cats, only 10 have been found in the wild. The other 30-40 are found in conservation centers and national parks.

Where does a king cheetah live?

King cheetahs are found in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. They are native to Africa and many species have been now sent to live in other Parks and Sanctuaries.

What is a king cheetah's habitat?

Like all regular cheetahs, king cheetahs live in wide, grassy plains and flatlands. They are also sometimes seen to hunt their prey in hot and arid environments like savannas and deserts. They don't hide much in the wild range. As they are predators themselves, king cheetahs live in the open wild and hunt at will.

Many specimens have been photographed in the African National Parks and Game Reserves.

Who do king cheetahs live with?

Female cheetahs are more territorial and prefer living in isolation. Males however show brotherhood and form a group for life. A group of cheetahs is called a 'coalition'.

How long does a king cheetah live?

Cheetahs are known to live for 15-20 years in captivity. The lifespan in the wild is not known.

How do they reproduce?

Female of the species give birth to young cubs every few years. Males fight each other to mate with the females. The female species themselves go into the heat to become more attractive for the males. Cubs are born in a litter of one to eight, but the average number of cubs is three to five. After birth, the cubs become highly vulnerable as many bigger animals hunt the cubs when young. The mother usually hides the cubs in bushes and frequently moving them from one place to another.

These cubs are often born with 'mohawks'. A cheetah cub looks more like a honey badger than a cheetah when young.

What is their conservation status?

Not officially given conservation status by the IUCN Red List, the king cheetahs are considered endangered by researchers as fewer than 50 of these big cats are currently found in the world. They live in a protected home however are threatened by human activities in the area and predation by larger carnivores and conflict with humans. Humans are even known for hunting these big cats for fun and as a trophy.

Typical cheetahs are given the status of Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. Hunting and habitat loss remain the main threats of this cat species in the wildlife.  

King Cheetah Fun Facts

What do king cheetahs look like?

The distinctive fur pattern on the king cheetah is the result of a genetic mutation. King cheetah is known for the unusual marks on the body right from when the species is a mere cheetah cub. The species have cream-colored fur with large irregular blotches. These large blotches on the fur are easily distinguishable from the small black dots on a regular cheetah's fur. The king cheetah has three vertical stripes on the fur that runs down the back from head to tail. The body of the king cheetah is slim and supple which helps in running. This species also has non-retractable claws.

Adult male cheetahs are typically larger than females.

The fur sticks up in the king cheetah cub, making them look like they have a mohawk hairstyle!

The king cheetahs have a very cool hairstyle!

How cute are they?

Cheetahs are considered quite cute.

How do they communicate?

Cheetahs communicate by the use of vocalizations. Depending on the situation, the animals are known to make different sounds. Chirping, churring, and purring are some of the sounds the animal makes.

How big is a king cheetah?

Any regular cheetah has a length of 3–5 ft (91.4-152.4 cm). King cheetahs are of similar size to any typical cheetahs.

The height of these animals is 2-3 ft (60.96-91.44 cm).

How fast can a king cheetah run?

Speeds of these cheetahs range between 50-80 mph (80.4-128.7 kph). Cheetahs are known to have protracted claws. These help increase the grip over the ground and the paw pads make maneuvering better and convenient over tougher grounds.

One fun fact of these cats is that the organs inside the body are special and the heart and lungs of the animal have greater power to pump blood and oxygen throughout. This helps them reach a fast speed while sprinting.

How much does a king cheetah weigh?

The weight of a regular cheetah ranges from 80-140 lb (36.28-63.5 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males and females are not given different names.

What would you call a baby king cheetah?

A baby cheetah is called a cub.

What do they eat?

Cheetahs are carnivores. Cheetahs usually feed on small to medium-sized prey which includes impala, Thomson's gazelles, and springbok. Sometimes, the cheetahs also hunt hares and birds. Small and medium-sized ungulates along with young large ungulates constitute most of the diet of any species of cheetahs. This includes the mutated variant called the king cheetah. King cheetahs are very direct hunters. They chase their prey until it tires.

The usual predators of cheetah cubs include leopards, spotted hyenas, and lions. King cheetah adults prefer to flee the predators, however, there are cases of lions and hyenas being the reason for cheetah kills.

Are they dangerous?

King cheetahs can be quite dangerous as they are known to be fierce carnivores, very territorial, and coordinated killers. It is better not to encroach on the lands of these cats. However, they have never attacked a human before.

Would they make a good pet?

Cheetahs are not considered pets as they are deadly predators and are not suitable for homes. They can easily be spotted in the zoo. King cheetahs are not available in the zoo habitats as the endangered species has already a very limited population. However, apart from the zoo habitats, the animals are found in captivity in some facilities around the globe. In these wildlife areas, the king cheetahs cannot be hunt down by poachers.

Did you know...

King cheetahs are known to be the main predators for impalas, gazelles, and antelopes.

Leopard vs cheetah, specifically the king cheetah has a history as people earlier thought the king cheetah to be a cross between a leopard and a hyena, and sometimes between a leopard and a cheetah. But later, it was found that the parents of the king cheetah are regular cheetahs and the king cheetah is just a mutation formed by a recessive gene.

The king cheetahs are the rarest cheetahs in the world. The critically endangered Saharan cheetah is the rarest cat among the six subspecies of cheetahs.

The king cheetah cannot be bought. However, cheetahs cost around $50,000 USD for their diet, toys, and all necessary documents. Groups of big cats were kept as status symbols in earlier days.

Females of the king cheetahs can be seen in the wild.

Cheetahs can run at high speeds but only for short areas.

The Hainan black-crested gibbon can be considered the rarest animal in the world. There are other rare animals like amur leopards, Sumatran rhinos, gorillas, spoon-billed sandpipers, and vaquitas.

Is the king cheetah faster than a cheetah?

King cheetah vs cheetah doesn't have much of a competition. King cheetah is one of the rarest animals in the world, while cheetahs are also becoming endangered because of many human practices. As the king cheetah is just a variant of the typical cheetahs, the speed of both the animals has a range between 50-80 mph (80.4-128.7 kph). The top speed of a king cheetah is the same as any other African cheetah.

Why is it called king cheetah?

The scientific name was given by Pocock in 1927, 'Acinonyx rex', and translates as king cheetah. However, it was found that the king cheetahs are just a genetic mutation of the regular cheetahs and just differ in fur pattern and color.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these hyena facts and Karelian bear dog fun facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable King cheetah coloring pages.

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