This week’s picture is of four Cheetah cubs looking straight into my camera at sunrise on a cold winter morning.
The picture was taken at on Mziki Marsh, my favorite area on Phinda Private Game Reserve, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.
The Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a large-sized cat inhabiting most of Africa and parts of the Middle East. It is the only cat with semi-retractable claws. Cheetahs achieve by far the fastest land speed of any living animal – between 110 and 120 km/h (70 and 75 mph) in short bursts covering distances up to 500 m (1,600 ft), and have the ability to accelerate from 0 to over 100 km/h (62 mph) in three seconds.
Females give birth after a gestation period of ninety to ninety-eight days. The average litter size is three to five. Cubs are born with a downy underlying fur on their necks, called a mantle. This gives them a Mohawk-type appearance. This fur is shed as the cheetah grows older. It has been speculated this mane gives a Cheetah cub the appearance of the honey badger, to scare away potential aggressors. Cubs leave their mother between thirteen and twenty months after birth. Life span is up to twelve years in the wild, but up to twenty years in captivity. Unlike males, adult females are solitary and tend to avoid each other.
For more Cheetah pictures go to www.sperka.biz/cheetah