Acinonyx jubatus

Quick Facts
Conservation Status:
75 to 140 pounds
8 to 10 years in natural habitats, up to 15 years in human care

In the Wild

Cheetahs are big cats native to Africa. Sometimes confused with the heavier African Leopard, another spotted big cat, cheetahs are tan with solid black spots and naturally slender. Cheetahs are known for the distinct dark markings on their face called tear marks, which help reduce glare from the sun. Known as the fastest land animal, cheetahs can run up to 60 miles per hour for short distances. Their 3-foot long tail acts like a rudder as they run, providing counter-balance to help them maneuver quickly. Cheetahs do not roar like other big cats. They communicate with chirps and purrs and will growl if threatened.

Our Cheetahs

Zoosiana is a proud participant in the ZAA Animal Management Program (AMP) for the cheetah.

Fun Facts

  • The cheetah is the single surviving species of the genus Acinonyx.

  • A cheetah's footprints have claw tips visible, more like a dog's than like a typical cat's print.


  • Cheetahs bark when communicating with each other. The cheetah is also unique among big cats in that it can also purr while both inhaling and exhaling.


  • Like football players, cheetahs have built-in sun glare protection around their eyes. The cheetah’s “tear marks” run from the inside corners of their eyes down to the outside edges of their mouth.