The cheetah is the fastest land animal in the world. They can achieve speeds of 112 to 120 km/h (70 to 75 mph) in short bursts.
Most car dealers would be envious of their acceleration skills – the cheetah can go from 0 to over 100 km/h (62 mph) in just three seconds!
So how does the cheetah have to power to sprint so fast? Partly because of its ability to increase circulation of oxygenas a result of its unusually large heart, wide nostrils and increased lung capacity.
A cheetah’s breath will increase from 60 breaths per minute to 150 when moving at top speed!
Other adaptations include a flexible spine and thin, muscular body with long legs – a bit like an olympic athlete!
Despite moving at incredible speeds, the cheetah is able to make swift, sharp turns to keep up with its prey – thanks to its tail which it uses as a rudder.
The cheetah’s characteristic black “tear marks” that run from the inside of its eyes down to its nose help keep the sun’s glare out of its eyes – aiding the big cat while it hunts.
Cheetahs are the fastest runners on the planet. Combining the resources of National Geographic and the Cincinnati Zoo, and drawing on the skills of a Hollywood action movie crew, we filmed cheetahs in a way that’s never been done before, for an article in the November 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine. See it at: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/201….
Using a Phantom camera filming at 1200 frames per second while zooming beside a sprinting cheetah, the team put together a compilation that captured every nuance of the cat’s movement as it reached top speeds of 60+ miles per hour.
The extraordinary footage that follows comes from multiple runs by five cheetahs during three days of filming.
More information: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/11/cheetahs/smith-text