- What is the maximum speed a cheetah can reach?
Cheetahs can reach speeds of 110-120 km/h. They can also accelerate from 0 to 80 km/h in just three seconds and turn a 90-degree angle at 80 km/h.
- How long is the gestation period and what is the average litter size?
Cheetahs have a gestation period of 92-95 days and give birth to three to five cubs on average, but it can go up to nine cubs in the same litter.
- What is the cub survival rate?
In the wild, cub mortality is very high and up to 90% of cubs may die.
- What is the average life expectancy of a cheetah?
In the wild, cheetahs only live on average, between 4 and 7 years old. This is due to the many pressures facing them, such as competition from other predators, threats from humans, and disease or injury affecting their ability to hunt. In captivity cheetahs can live to around 14 to 17 years year of age.
- How many cheetah sub-species are there?
There are five cheetah sub-species: South African cheetah (A. j. jubatus), Tanzanian cheetah a.k.a East African cheetah (A. j. raineyii), Sudan cheetah a.k.a Central/Northeast African cheetah (A. j. soemmeringii), Northwest African cheetah a.k.a Saharan cheetah (A. j. hecki), Asiatic cheetah a.k.a asIranian orIndian cheetah (A. j. venaticus).
- What about the king cheetah?
Discovered in Southern Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe) in 1926, the king cheetah was first thought to be separate sub-species but it is actually a rare genetic mutation characterised by a distinct mackerel fur pattern. This mutation is recessive and must be inherited from both parents to appear, which is one reason why it is so rare.
- What do you feed your cheetahs?
We feed out cheetahs on low-fat meat such as horsemeat or game.
- What do you do with old cheetahs?
Once our cheetahs have reached an age where they are no longer able to breed, we retire them. This means they are able to live out the rest of their life in comfort at the Dell Cheetah Centre.
- Can your cheetahs be released into the wild?
Cheetahs which were hand-reared cannot be reintroduced into the wild as they would always associate humans with food, which would bring them into conflict with local populations. Moreover, a cheetah born in captivity has not been taught how to hunt by its mother. Our 2-phase reintroduction project aims at enabling females to raise solely their cubs in a large enclosed area stocked with suitable game, where they will become self-sufficient and will teach their cubs how to hunt. Once the cubs become independent, they will be ready for reintroduction.
- Why do you remove the cubs from their mother?
We remove the cubs because the mothers have been born and raised in captivity and therefore are not proficient hunters. If the cubs are left with the mother they will be wary and scared of humans, making working with them difficult and stressful for the cheetahs, and the mother will not be able to teach the cubs to hunt, so they can never be returned to the wild. By hand-raising the cubs we are able to ensure they are happy and comfortable around humans, which is important if they are going to be fed and worked with in other breeding programmes. It also means we are able to use some of them as Ambassador cats for the species, so that people, like you, can come and meet the cheetahs and learn more about them.