Cheetahs Can't Roar

by Chris Anderson on April 01, 2023
When you think of cheetahs, what’s the first thing you think of?
Genetic diversity?

Cheetahs are felines, but there’s been some debate on whether they should be classified as “big cats”! This is because other big cats can roar, but cheetahs can’t. However, even though they can’t roar, they can purr!1
They also stand out from other big cats because their claws are only semi-retractable instead of fully retractable. Because of this, they’re in their own genus, called Acinonyx.1 If you immediately think of speed when you hear the word “cheetah”, that’s a perfect association because they can reach speeds of over 60mph in seconds!2 They have longer legs than other cat species and a longer spine, which helps them take longer strides and allows them to reach the speeds they do.3
Genetic diversity is extremely important for cheetahs because they don’t have much of it in their populations, making them susceptible to extinction. This is made worse by fragmented habitats that keep groups separated.3 These cats need large territories and to connect with others of their species.1 Currently, most of them live in Africa, but they were once found in North America, Europe, and Asia. They disappeared from those areas after the last ice age.3
Read more about your favorite animals on our blog!