|The name "cheetah"
comes from a Hindi word meaning "spotted one" or from the Sanskrit
word "chitraka". An adult has yellow or tan fur with solid black
round or oval spots measuring .75 to 1.5 inches
(1.9 to 3.8 centimeters) in diameter. The spots cover nearly the entire
body; only the white throat and abdomen are unmarked. The tail ends with
4-6 black rings and a bushy, white tuft. The spot pattern plus the ring
pattern on the tail enable the identification of specific cheetahs (by humans).
The head is small with eyes set high and a black "tear mark" running
from the inner aspect of each eye down to the mouth. The teeth are small
to accommodate large nasal passages. An adult cheetah weighs 80-140 pounds
(36-64 kilograms), is about 32 inches (81 centimeters) tall at the shoulder
and 48-56 inches (121-142 centimeters) long with another 28-32 inches (70-81
centimeters) in tail - males are a little larger than females. Cheetahs
are sometimes mistaken for leopards - much heavier animals with rosette
shaped spots and no tear marks.
|See also: King
Cheetah . Teeth . Cubs
Appearance . Dentition
(external link), Cheetah
Skull Compared (external link)