How Fast Does A Cheetah Run? What Is The Top Speed Of A Cheetah?

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Mar 01, 2024 By Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Originally Published on Nov 16, 2021
African Cheetah on a tree branch.

Which is the fastest land animal on the face of planet Earth?

The fastest animal that runs on land in the world is the cheetah. No other land mammal can match the unbelievable running speed of a cheetah.

Cheetahs are known for their swift strides and lightning speed. Cheetahs are solitary predators as they chase and kill their prey themselves rather than hunting in groups. They have a unique way of hunting prey.

They creep up and sneakily get close to their prey. They get as close as possible to their prey before they start running to chase and hunt it down. They pounce upon their prey by taking short sprints.

Cheetahs are mainly sprinters and not endurance runners, as they can only maintain a high speed for a brief period. Cheetahs are often confused with leopards and jaguars as they look similar.

However, it is easy to spot a cheetah as it has a slender body with a black-dotted fur coat, a small head, and black tear lines near its eyes.

Like a human fingerprint, the spots on a cheetah's body and the ring pattern on a cheetah's tail are unique. Surprising, isn't it? A cheetah's spotted fur coat acts as camouflage during hunting and hiding in the wild.

If you find this article on cheetahs interesting, then you are sure to love some of the other fun facts that Kidadl has to offer. Why don't you read some other animal articles, starting with king cheetah facts? Then, you may want to discover the answer to the question of how fast can an elephant run?

How fast does a cheetah run per second?

The cheetah is the fastest animal on Earth. At top speed, this cat can cover a distance of around 23 ft (7 m) in just a single stride. A cheetah can pull off four such long strides per second.

A cheetah can run at speeds up to 64 mph (103 kph). There is no other mammal on land that can outshine cheetahs for their short sprints.

Cheetahs are fast-running predators that chase and attack their prey. A cheetah's sleek and slender body makes it easy for it to run at lightning speed and kill its prey.

Cheetahs usually weigh within the range of 75-140 lb (34-64 kg). These cats are around 30 in (77 cm) tall and approximately 44-56 in (112-142 cm) long, with about 26-33 in (66-84 cm) in tail length. Male cheetahs are often larger than females.

A cheetah has a small head with large nostrils, lungs, and a heart that allow it to breathe quickly with a supply of deep airflow and oxygenated blood while chasing its prey. A flattened rib cage and slender, long legs help the cheetah run faster and minimize air resistance.

The firm paw pads on its legs and semi-retractable claws help maintain grip and friction on the ground. The long tail of this cat helps in steering and stabilizing its body while running.

A cheetah has small collarbones which are not connected with its vertical shoulder blades. It also has a highly flexible spine and hips. Such a body with a flexible spine helps this animal elongate its stride and provide brisk acceleration.

A cheetah's heartbeat beats at an unbelievably high rate when hunting and chasing its prey, which helps it in achieving a super high speed. The high heartbeat can be maintained for a brief time of around 10 seconds, after which a cheetah slows down its speed and eventually halts to rest as it gets too tired to move.

Sprinting so briskly requires a lot of oxygen; therefore, cheetahs have significant nasal passages, meaning that the area for teeth gets reduced. Cheetahs have a smaller set of teeth than other big cats, such as lions, tigers, leopards, and the like.

Having smaller teeth limits their predatory abilities as they need to kill their prey by suffocating them to death.

How fast do cheetahs run per hour?

A cheetah can run from up to 40 mph (64 kph) in just three strides.

Cheetahs run so fast that their running speeds range between 60-76 mph (96.5-122.3 kph). However, cheetahs can only endure this high speed over a distance of about 1500 ft (450 m).

Cheetahs can gain momentum at an astonishing rate. These animals can go from being at rest to running as swiftly as 45 mph (70 kph) within three seconds.

King cheetahs are pretty much the same as African cheetahs, with a slight mutation in their outward appearances. The highest speed of a king cheetah is around 80 mph (128 kph). Cheetahs can, however, not run on water as they require a firm and stable ground to run over, which is impossible to maintain on water.

How fast does a cheetah run in meters per second?

No other land animal on this planet is as fast as a cheetah. A cheetah speeds up to around 95 ft (29 m) per second.

According to the National Geographic magazine, the fastest land mammal in the world was a female cheetah named Sarah.

Sarah lived in the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio; Sarah has a record for the fastest cheetah sprint time of 5.95 seconds, in which she ran 328 ft (100 m) which converts to around 61 mph (98.1 kph).

Before this, the National Geographic magazine had also documented Sarah's record of running a distance of 328 ft (100 m) in 6.13 seconds.

Unfortunately, Sarah died at the age of 15 on January 22, 2016.

The Jamaican athlete, Usain Bolt, the fastest sprinter in the world, covered the same 328 ft (100 m) dash within 9.58 seconds, which is 28 mph (45 kph) when converted. The average person who isn't a sprinter covers 328 ft (100 m) distance in around 14 seconds, approximately 15.9 mph (25 kph).

The maximum running speed of an average human being is more or less 15 mph (25 kph). Cheetahs are three times faster than normal human beings when it comes to running. There is not even an iota of chance for us to outrun these sprinting animals.

A cheetah can accelerate as fast as one of the world's fastest and most powerful sports cars: the Ferrari. Yes, you read it absolutely right! The acceleration of a Ferrari car and a cheetah from 0-100 mph, when compared, happens in less than three seconds.

How fast does a baby cheetah run?

Baby cheetahs are known as cubs; these cubs are blind at birth. Baby cheetahs are covered with a thick furry coat known as a mantle that helps them protect themselves from predators in the wild.

When cubs are around 3-4 weeks old, they start walking. They can't run at this young age as their bodies are pretty tender. Baby cheetahs do not run to hunt as they feed on milk from their mother for approximately six months. They may also start eating meat during this time that their mother provides them.

After six months, baby cheetahs follow their mother and chase and hunt small birds and animals. Researchers have recorded speeds of up to 50 mph (80 kph) in cubs over six months old.

After baby cheetahs are a year old, they become effective hunters; that's when they start chasing and hunting down bigger prey.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 'How fast does a cheetah run? What is the top speed of a cheetah?'

then why not take a look at 'Do all animals reproduce? Explore unique facts about asexual animals', or 'How do you know when a watermelon is ripe? Tips to pick ripe watermelon'?

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Written by Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason

Bachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason picture

Adekunle Olanrewaju JasonBachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

With over 3+ years of professional experience, Olanrewaju is a certified SEO Specialist and Content Writer. He holds a BSc in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos. Throughout his dynamic career, Olanrewaju has successfully taken on various roles with startups and established organizations. He has served as a Technical Writer, Blogger, SEO Specialist, Social Media Manager, and Digital Marketing Manager. Known for his hardworking nature and insightful approach, Olanrewaju is dedicated to continuous learning and improvement.
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