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Thursday, 27 July 2017

AMAZING WILDLIFE IN UGANDA

A SPOTLIGHT ON A CHEETAH
A cheetah is the fastest land animal on earth and is a large field of the sub-family Felinae occurring only in the Eastern and Southern Africa regions. Cheetah is characterized by its slender body, with a deep chest, spotted coat, and black tear-like streaks on the face, small rounded head, long thin legs and a spotted long tail. The cheetah weighs 21-72 kg, and nearly reaching 70-90 cm at the shoulder. Although the cheetah is taller than the leopard, it is notably smaller compared to the lion. The coat of a cheetah is uniformly covered by nearly 2,000 black spots.

Cheetahs are mainly active during day time and hunting is their major activity; being a carnivore, it preys upon gazelles and antelopes, stalking their prey within 100 to 300 m charging towards it and finally killing them by biting the animal’s throat to suffocate it to death after stripping it during a chase. The hunting cheetah’s speed averages to 60 km/hr, during the process of sprinting. Cheetahs are induced ovulators therefore breed throughout the year, and have a gestation period of nearly 3(three) months long, producing about 3-5 cubs but sometimes the number varies from 1-8, but unfortunately cheetah’s cubs faces relatively higher mortality rates than most of the mammals. The cheetah inhabits or lives in a wide range of habitats stretching from dry forests, scrub forests to Savannah grass lands. The remaining cheetahs are less than 10,000 in the wild making it the Africa’s most endangered big cat. Cheetahs are carnivores and their favorite food (prey) is mostly the smaller antelope such as Steenbok, springbok, Duikers and Thomson’s gazelle.  Usually chase their prey and killing them by cutting off the animals air supply after biting the throat.
Cheetahs when running on its full speed feels like almost flying with their feet touching the ground twice per stride and often striding at a length of 6-7 metres (21 feet). The cheetah has a semi non-retractable claws always working like the cleats on the football shoe that give the cheetah a lot of grip when running. The pads of a cheetah are hard like the rubber on the car tyre unlike the pads of most cats’ paw that are often soft.
The cheetah can reach its top speed in only three (3) seconds running as fast as a care drive on the highway that’s to say can run up to 70 mph and therefore was ranked the fastest land animal and uses its long and muscular tail having a flat shape as a rudder on the boat because it helps them control their steering and keeping their balance when running faster. The cheetah’s cubs have a mantle that is, the long tall hair running from their neck up to their tails base. Cheetahs have a black tear mark like line running from the inside corners of their eyes  up to down the outside edges of their mouth, and this helps them reflect  the sun’s glare during day time hunting; therefore the tear marks work like a sight of a rifle helping the cheetah stay focused and aim to their prey when hunting.
However, cheetahs can only be spotted in Kidepo valley national park in the whole of Uganda making this park one of the most attractive parks and Uganda’s hidden treasures which has earned it a prestigious international accolade for being the most beautiful remote savannah park in Africa.


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