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Information Regarding the Asiatic Cheetah

The fastest land mammal, the Asiatic cheetah, like other subspecies of this amazing big cat, is built for speed. A long and sleek body is balanced on thin, athletic legs with semi-retractable claws that allow the cat to keep a grip on the ground in high-speed pursuits. Weighing eighty to one hundred and fifty pounds, it is four to five feet long with a nearly two and a half foot tail that acts as a rudder to steady the Cheetah as it makes quick turns on the hunt. The height is about two and a half feet. The color of the fur is auburn and the hair is short and coarse. Black spots mark the length of the body. The head is small and the eyes high. Dark tear marks running from the inner corners of the eyes, from the side of the nose to the mouth are believed to protect the Cheetah’s eyes from direct sunlight as it hunts its prey in bright daylight.

Living in the barren lands of Iran, the Cheetah is traditionally a hunter by day. In Africa this is an adaptation to avoid conflict with other larger predators such as lions, hyenas and leopards that are active at night. Little is known about the behavior and habits of the Asiatic cheetah, although it is known to prey on gebir and goitered gazelle, wild goat and Urial sheep. Cheetahs have powerful jaws and kill by strangling the prey. It is estimated that if they get within two hundred meters of the prey, covered by bushes and grass, avoiding detection, then they have a reasonable chance of success in making the kill. Unlike other big cats, cheetahs can be domesticated and were used for centuries by maharajas in India to take down gazelles, earning them the title of ‘hunting leopard’.

Acinonyx Jubatus Venaticus, the Asiatic cheetah is currently recorded in desert and semi-arid scrub in scattered areas of Iran. A few unconfirmed sightings have been made in the past in the Balochistan province of Pakistan, however there is no evidence to support them. Cheetahs are somewhat migratory cats and often move around in search of prey. This is especially true in the case of females who do not hold as strongly in one area as males.

Not much is known about the reproductive profile of the Asiatic cheetah. Mid-winter is believed to be the peak breeding season for cats, although they have been documented to mate year-round. Litter size is reported to be from one to four cubs with two being the average. Independence is probably achieved at eighteen months. The lifespan is up to twelve to fourteen years.

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