The Cheetah is native to large parts of Africa; there are also some pockets in east Asia, mainly Iran,
but much reduced from its former range which included much of Arabia and India.
The fastest land mammal, it is much smaller than the four big cats (tigers, lions, leopards, jaguars),
with a small head, slim body and long thin legs for running. Unlike the big cats, it cannot roar.
The Cheetah's long legs and large lung capacity enable it to reach sprint speeds of some 100 kph when chasing prey.
The Cheetah has non- or semi-retractable claws which act like crampons to stop it slipping in fast turns
when chasing prey but limit its ability to climb vertical trunks.
Male Cheetahs live in small groups of, usually related, other males and establish group territories.
Females are solitary unless mating or raising their cubs.
There is little variation in most Cheetah's coats/physical appearance and all have the black line marking
from the inner eye along the muzzle to the mouth. Rare exceptions to the usual golden background and spotted
coat are "King Cheetahs," with three black lines of merged spots along their back (mostly from the Transvaal area),
pale, greyish or almost spotless Cheetahs (often semi-desert habitats) and albino or melanistic Cheetahs, mainly
from Asia -- all due to recessive genes and all very rare.