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Cheetah in Masai Mara National Reserve. Javier Yanes/
'Acinonyx jubatus'
Swahili: Duma

Best parks to see it: Masai Mara

Cheetahs can be distinguished from leopards by their slender and lighter body build, their spots instead of rosettes and their facial tearmarks. Their habits are also different, since they are terrestrial and diurnal. They are also unique in their hunting technique. They stalk prey like lions and leopards do, but once they have chosen a target they sprint from a long distance to a top speed of 70 mph (112 km/h). However they can keep this pace only for a short time and many of their killing attempts are in vain. They live 10 years and are solitary, except for males that can partner up to three individuals.

Cheetahs will choose open terrain for hunting at dawn or dusk. For the rest of the day they will shelter beneath trees or shrubs. However they are more lively than lions, reason why they can be more easily spotted from afar.
Cheetah in Masai Mara National Reserve. J.Y./


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