Image: Kim Wolhuter/National Geographic/Getty Images
About This Quiz
Their elegance, grace and speed probably accounted for their popularity, but today cheetahs are in very grave danger of extinction. Learn about the dangers cheetahs face and what we can do to save them.
How long does it take a cheetah to accelerate from walking speed to running speed?
less than two seconds
It takes cheetahs less than two seconds to accelerate from walking speed to about 40 miles per hour (65 kph).
In what decade did cheetahs receive protected status?
Cheetahs received protected status from the United States Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in 1975. This protected them from hunters, but they are still vulnerable to being shot by African farmers protecting their livestock.
For how many minutes must a cheetah rest after conducting a high speed hunt to catch supper?
A cheetah must rest for up to 30 minutes after it catches its prey. This means that in protected nature reserves, cheetahs have a poor rate of survival, because lions, hyenas and vultures steal the cheetah's kill while they are recovering from their high speed hunt.
How many cheetahs lose their kill to competitive predators?
one in five
one in 10
According to Timothy M. Caro of the University of California, who has studied cheetahs in Tanzania's Serengeti Plain, one in 10 cheetahs loses its kill to competitive predators. Because they are built to run, not to fight, cheetahs will lose the battle against competing predators.
What did David E. Wildt, a biomedical researcher specializing in cats, discover about cheetah sperm?
He discovered that 70 percent of cheetah sperm were abnormal.
David E. Wildt took sperms samples from a number of cheetahs in captivity in the U.S. and discovered that 70 percent of the sperm were abnormal, with deformities that would prevent them from being able to penetrate a female ovum.
He discovered that cheetahs have a very low sperm count.
He discovered that cheetah sperm are built in a way that makes it difficult for them to survive inside a female cheetah's body.
What did Stephen J. O'Brien attribute the cheetah's abnormal sperm to?
stressful conditions in captivity
lack of genetic variation among cheetahs
Stephen J. O'Brien, a researcher at the U.S. National Cancer Institute thought that the cheetah's abnormal sperm was caused by a lack of genetic variation among cheetahs, because Wildt found this phenomena among African cheetahs as well. This ruled out the possibility that it was because of the stressful conditions of captivity.
How many cheetah's rejected the skin grafts that O'Brien and colleagues gave them?
When O'Brien and his colleagues experimented on 14 cheetahs and gave them skin grafts from one another, only three cheetahs' bodies rejected the graft after 40 days, indicating that their immune systems were all genetically similar. When this same experiment was conducted on house cats, all the skin grafts were rejected within 14 days.
In the Serengeti, in how much territory would a female cheetah be alone in?
100 square miles (300 square kilometers)
200 square miles (500 square kilometers)
300 square miles (800 square kilometers)
A female cheetah would be alone in about 300 square miles of territory. For this reason, to encourage successful breeding among captive cheetahs, zoos keep cheetahs in several groups, as they prefer to mate with unfamiliar male cheetahs.