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  • Location: Smithsonian’s National ZoO, Washington, DC, United States
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  • Info: Live streaming webcam showing a cheetah and cubs at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC, United States. Echo the female cheetah gave birth to four cubs on April 8, 2020

Info: The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a large cat native to Africa and central Iran. These slender deep chested felines are built for speed and are capable of reaching speeds greater than 110 kilometres per hour in just over three seconds. Specialized muscles allow for a greater swing to the limbs increasing acceleration. The cheetahs foot pads are hard and less rounded than the other cats and function like tire treads providing them with increased traction in fast, sharp turns. The cheetah has distinctive black tear stripes which run from the eyes to the mouth. The stripes are thought to protect the eyes from the sun’s glare and so help the cheetah focus on prey at a long distance.

Cheetahs prey includes gazelles (especially Thomson’s gazelles), impalas and other small to medium-sized antelopes, hares, birds, and rodents. Cheetahs will also prey on the calves of larger herd animals. Hunts for large antelope like yearling wildebeest, kudu, waterbuck and gemsbok are successful only when a group of cheetahs operate together in a coalition. A cheetah hunting its prey will start with a slow stalk. If its prey sees it before it gets within about 100 meters, it will give up the stalk because it depends on the element of surprise for success. Cheetahs are visual hunters. Unlike other big cats cheetahs are diurnal, meaning they hunt in early morning and late afternoon.