A sitting female cheetah looking alert


Cheetahs are found in sub-Saharan Africa and Northern Iran. Reaching speeds of over 100kph (almost 65mph) they are the fastest animals on land, easily capable of outrunning any other animal over short distances. To perfect their locomotive skill, cheetahs have evolved harder paws than most other cats and have claws that are only semi-retractable. These provide continuous traction that allows the cheetah to make quick turns at top speed. Full sprints take a lot of energy, last roughly 20 seconds and rarely exceed a minute. Unfortunately for the cheetah, most of their hunts still fail.

Did you know?
Achieving speeds over 100kph (65mph) cheetahs are the fastest animals on land.

Scientific name: Acinonyx jubatus

Rank: Species

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Map showing the distribution of the Cheetah taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Cheetah can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Cheetah distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status


  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Decreasing

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Mammals
  5. Carnivora
  6. Cats
  7. Acinonyx
  8. Cheetah


BBC News about Cheetah

See all Cheetah news stories

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