|Profile with "Tearmarks"|
Leopards, Jaguars, and Cheetahs are all spotted big cats, but Cheetahs are easy to distinguish based on their body shape. They possess deep chests, long legs, and small heads that sport two well defined black "tearmark" streaks that run from the eyes to the snout. The physical features of the Cheetah all serve to enhance their speed and hunting style. For example, they have claws that only partially retract and serve as "cleats" for running traction. Their small heads also have small teeth that allow for larger nasal passages and easier breathing while on the hunt and while in recovery from a chase.
Female and Male Cheetahs mix only to mate. Females give birth, typically to a littler of three, and those cubs will stay with her for about a year and a half, learning to hunt and survive. Males Cheetahs often live in small groups, typically with their brothers.
Cheetahs are listed as Vulnerable, and it is estimated that there are around 12,000 left in the wild. Habitat loss, human encroachment, loss of prey, and loss of genetic diversity are all threats to the species.