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The Cheetah

science project

Nicole Stallard

on 6 February 2013

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Transcript of The Cheetah

By: Nicole Stallard, 6A The Cheetah Habitat How It Hunts The cheetahs' habitat is the savanna located in Africa. The savanna is the grasslands of Eastern and Southwestern Africa.

Not so long ago cheetahs inhabited an area all through North Africa, the Middle East, and India, but they are now commonly found only in parts Africa and very small numbers in India. Adaptations That Help the Cheetah Survive In Its Environment: The biome is the grasslands and in Africa it is called savanna. The grasslands are dry areas that get rain and sometimes snow. Some grasslands get less than forty inches of precipitation each year. It is too dry for most trees to grow and grasses can thrive.

The main plant food is the grass. Grazing animals are commonly found there. Grasses are very unique because they grow better the more they are grazed on. When the animals eat and trample the grass it grows back stronger and thicker. There is so much food that grazing animals there have become very large. The African savanna is home to the greatest herds on earth. Those large herds are the food of the predators. More animals live there than anywhere else on earth. Some of the many large animals found in the savanna are zebras, lions, giraffes, wildebeest, elephants, African painted dogs, baboons, rhinoceros, hyenas, cheetahs, lemurs, gazelles and antelope. Details About the Grasslands The cheetah is a predator. It has to find and catch prey to survive.
It has speed and strength and it is the fastest mammal on land. It can run as fast as 70 mph. The body is designed for speed. It has a small head and long legs and a sleek muscular body with a long flexible spine. It Eats
The cheetah is a carnivore and eats medium-sized herbivores. The cheetah's main prey is the Thomson’s gazelles. It also eats antelopes, small mammals and game birds. They kill only one deer a day. The cheetahs sometimes can go a couple of days without eating, unless one is female and either pregnant or has kits.
Hunting in the savanna is the cheetah's niche. Cheetahs usually hunt alone and during the daylight. Speed is used to catch their prey. Cheetahs have blunt claws on all four paws that grip the ground. They have a claw that is sharp, called a dew-claw that they use to knock down an animal. Since they don't have big jaws to kill with, they suffocate the catch.

Cheetahs can only run fast for a few yards. Their prey also runs fast and for longer distances. Cheetahs have to move very slowly, camouflaged in the low grass to get close enough. They only catch and kill their prey 1 out of 10 times. After hunting down and catching an animal they may have to rest for a half-hour before starting to eat and sometimes other animals will steal the meal before the cheetah has a chance to eat it. Every year there is a dry season and a wet season, but no two years are the same. Some years are dryer or wetter; so it is a changing and unpredictable environment affecting the ecosystem. Adaptation 1: Adaptation 2: Another adaptation is their fur. It allows them to blend in with their surroundings as they stalk their prey. A cheetah has to get as close as possible to their prey before they chase them.
What might happen if the cheetah becomes extinct? In the grasslands food is everywhere and there are a great number of animals. No single animal controls it. If the cheetah became extinct from it's community it would only make a small difference to the ecosystem because there are few cheetahs compared to so many other predators on the savanna. The other predators might increase in numbers because of the extra food; or without the cheetahs killing them there could be more grazing animals, putting more demand on the grasslands for food. Whenever the size of one group of animals in the food web changes, it will affect the others. Endangered! Cheetahs are on the endangered species list. Cheetahs have decreased greatly in number over time. Over 100,000 were once living throughout Asia and Africa. Scientists estimate there are now only about 12,000 cheetahs left in the wild.

They have been hunted by humans: for their beautiful fur
as a threat to livestock
hunting for sport Habitat loss: agriculture has taken much of the grasslands for farming
human encroachment as population increases Protecting the Cheetah There are laws to protect the cheetah. It is a protected species in Namibia, but people can remove them if they are a threat to human life or livestock.

The other things that are being done are:

developing better livestock management to eliminate the need to kill so many cheetahs
conservation education programs to inform the public
scientific research about cheetahs Savanna Food Web January 24, 2013 Conclusion The cheetah is a beautiful creature. It has been admired by humans for more than a thousand years. Let's hope the cheetah can be saved so that future generations can know about this wonderful animal. Even if the there are not that many cheetahs to make a difference in the community, all animals help maintain the balance of nature and the loss of any one species in our world is important. The cheetah is a Secondary Consumer along with other large carnivores. They catch their prey and consume them. The prey are the primary consumers.

The Primary Consumers consume the plants. They are the grazers: zebras, elephants, antelope, gazelles, and baboons.

The Producers are the trees, shrubs and grass. They make food by using the process of photosynthesis with the energy coming from the sun.

The Scavengers are the crickets, termites, hyena. They eat the leftover meat the secondary consumers left.

The decomposers are mushrooms and microorganisms. They break down what the scavengers left and provide nutrients to the soil and then new plant life is produced. Food Web of the Cheetah Introduction The cheetah belongs to the big cat family. It evolved about 18 million years ago. The cheetah has a beautiful yellowish coat with small black spots, a ringed tail, and a black tear-shaped stripe on their face. It has a sleek body that is made for speed. The cheetah does not roar like other cats - they chirp; and purr or hiss when threatened. High mortality rate: 50-75% of cubs die before they are fully grown.
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