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In the Real World
Cheetahs have a wide range among Africa and southwestern Asia. They require a large amount of space as well as consistent access to a steady prey source. Though somewhat picky about their habitat, cheetahs have been known to live in a variety of different environments, such as grasslands, the open savanna, and mountainous areas.
Cheetahs, particularly females, are solitary creatures and require their own territory. Females tend to live on their own, with the exception of raising cubs, while males commonly form small groups, called "coalitions." When raising cubs, a mother will stay with her offspring for about eighteen months in order to teach them how to hunt and fight. After eighteen months, she will leave them and they will live together for another six months in a sibling group. After six months, the female cubs will leave the group and the males will stick together for life.
The cheetah is by far the fastest land animal, able to reach speeds of 70mph and more in a short burst. They can cover up to 1,600 feet in one sprint and can go from 0 to 100mph in about 3 seconds. But despite their natural ability in running, their stamina is very low. The cheetah is a sprinter.
Cheetahs are large-sized felines with slim builds and long limbs. In comparison to the jaguar and leopard, they are somewhat short-bodied, though they are taller and more streamlined. They also have a black tear-stripe going down from each eye to the mouth. Their fur is colored a light gold and spotted with black splotches, usually 2 or 3 centimeters across. Their underside, however, is white and has no spots. Adults can grow to be up to 94 centimeters high and 135 centimeters long. Cheetahs averagely weigh in-between 36 and 65 kilograms.
A cheetah's diet mostly consists of larger mammals, such as gazelles, impala, and springbok. When hunting in groups, cheetahs will go for larger prey, such as wildebeest and zebras. During a hunt, cheetahs will rely on their vision, rather than their sense of smell. They will usually stalk their prey before trying to catch it. If they are not able to take down their prey in a short amount of time, they will usually give up. Cheetahs commonly hunt in the early morning or the late evening to avoid the heat of the day.
In the Universe
A cheetah is seen at the beginning of the film; one walking up to the sunrise. A cheetah is also briefly seen in "I Just Can't Wait to be King".
A cheetah appears very briefly during the "Circle of Life" and can be seen during the presentation. A cheetah appears again as it stalks the giraffe and at the end of the second act during simba and nalas presentation
A cheetah cub named Beba has a semi-important role in the story, though he never makes an appearance.
Why would anyone want to take on a cheetah? You can't trust a cheetah.
Towards the beginning of the story, Zazu reports to Simba about Nassor the giraffe. He rants on how Nassor is always fighting. Last week he had fought the gazelles, and the week before, he had taken on the cheetahs. He asks Simba why anyone would take on a cheetah, for no one could trust them! This is the only time a cheetah is seen or mentioned throughout the book.
When a rumor spreads across the Pride Lands about a mysterious beast roaming the savanna, Mufasa asks various animals if they have seen or heard anything suspicious. The cheetahs tell Mufasa that they haven't seen the beast, but have heard the rumor from some baby ostriches.
- Fuli is a young female cheetah who appears in The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar and its inspired TV series.
The Lion King Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Cheetahs.