|Cheetah - Photo: Wikipedia|
Cheetah is one of the exotic animals which are kept as pets since five thousand years and can be dated back to Ancient Egyptian civilization. Initially, they were used for hunting. Scientifically known as Acinonyx Jubatus, they are fastest of the wild cats and also amongst the animals but aren’t good at climbing trees like other cats. They are capable of reaching a speed of seventy miles per hour and within merely three seconds they can accelerate from zero mph to seventy mph. The length of the cheetah’s body ranges from forty-five to fifty-five inches and the weight ranges from ninety to one hundred and forty pounds.
They originated from Africa and can be found in other parts of the world such as Central Asia and Iran. They have an elongated body with a small head and narrow waist, which facilitates aerodynamics. Cheetahs have semi-retractable blunt claws which help them to get a good grip during fast pursuits. The color of its coarse fur is tan and has small black spots. A rare kind of cheetah known as King Cheetah is larger in size with big merging spots. Its Thirty-three-inch long tail is encircled with five to six black circles and it helps in taking sharp turns as it acts like a rudder. Black lines which start from its eyes and run along the sides of the nose towards the mouth are called tear marks. These lines enable them to see long distances and minimize the glare of the sun.
Cheetahs can be trained very easily and also they are very caring animals. They make noises such as chirp, yowl, yip, growl and hiss and their purr is very deafening. But they do not have the ability to roar like other big cats and also are diurnal, whereas others are nocturnal. They are carnivorous animals and hunt for small mammals and young ones of larger mammals. Cheetahs hunt when it isn’t hot, like at dawn and dusk. They also do not go after animals which they cannot get hold of easily and they hunt not by smell but by vision. Nearly fifty percent of attempts end in failure as they give up fast. One of the reasons can be the immense heat which is generated while running, which can be serious for the animal. They rest for at least half hour after the intense chase. They also have the ability to make sounds of some birds, in order to catch them.
Cheetahs always eye for the animal which is distant from its herd. It chases the animal and then trips it. After the animal falls, it suffocates the animal by biting underneath the throat as it does not have the strength to break the neck. For some reason, they do not hunt weak and old animals. During high-speed chases, cheetahs can get adequate oxygen with the help of big nostrils. They also have an enlarged heart and lungs which utilize the oxygen to the maximum by increasing the respiratory rate while running.
Cheetahs also fall under the category of endangered species. Many organizations and acts have been implemented to conserve them. One of the reasons for their endangerment is that they are environmentally sensitive and are the most vulnerable. When held in captivity, they should be provided with their natural habitat. Studies have proven that there is a lack of genetic diversity in cheetahs which are held in captivity. They don’t reproduce regularly like other felines and find it difficult to breed. Also, their lifespan decreases and the rate of survival are low. In residential areas, they have been killed by poachers on large scale for protecting cattle. Such farmers are now being provided with dogs that can guard the livestock and scare away the wild cheetah. It has also being hunted for its fur with a beautiful pattern.
To obtain a permit to keep cheetahs as pets are not only a big problem for individual owners but also for big zoos. People who have a passion for cheetahs and haven’t got the permission to own them can donate generously to conserve the species.