Cheetahs are the fastest land mammals, and catch their prey in high speed chases up to 103 km per hour (29 meters per second), over distances of hundreds of metres!
With an acceleration zero to 75 km/h in only 2 seconds the cheetah can still keep up with the fastest production cars. But unlike a car or a horse the cheetah can keep this speed only for about 400-800 meters. About half an hour he needs to recover after a sprint.
The fastest man today can reach a speed of almost 18 mph (30 km/h)
A well trained horse reaches a top speed of 45 mph (75 km/h)
The spine is extremely flexible. Because of that the cheetah is able when doing a sprint to place his hind legs in front of his forelegs, push off himself and stretch the spine.
The very long thin legs are equipped with big thigh muscles which make outstanding steps possible.
The cheetah is the only member of the cat family who can’t hide his claws completely. The reason for that is that the pocket is degenerated so the claws are always a bit exposed. Constant abrasion makes them blunt which makes the cheetah a comparatively bad climber. But for the speed the cheetah gains a “Spikes-Effect”, which prevents a sliding off while running. Like that he can like his prey quickly change direction on speed up quickly. You can say the claws are built in starting blocks.
With an average of about 90 km per hour the running cheetah covers an area of seven meters per step and that every 3,5 seconds!
For more foothold beside the claws the cheetah has thick flaky soles on his pads.
The cheetah has less resistance because of his body shape and weight. Its slim body reminds of a greyhound. Its head is small and round. In average he weighs less than 60 kg.
Its nostrils are considerable extended. This doesn’t leave much space for the set of teeth and makes them to a weak weapon compared to other big cats. That is also the reason why they kill with a throat bite and not with a neck bite.
Lungs, bronchial tubes, adrenal glands and a powerful heart are proportional strongly amplified. The arteries are wide and strong. Like this the body gets more oxygen and the muscles are supplied optimal. These muscles are specialized on high acceleration. They allow big flexibility of the extremities.
To be able to change direction quickly while hunting the long tail also plays an important role. It works like a rudder and helps to maintain balance.
Because the cheetah is a sprinter and not an endurance runner he will, unlike lions or wolfs, choose an individual first, then sneak close and only if close enough finally start running.
To make his prey fall it simply runs in his legs to make it lose balance and then suffocates it with a throat bite.
No other predator is is prosperous. It is certainly because of the distance which it can cover in such a short time, but also because it aborts a hunt if it gets discovered to early.
The cheetah has an average hunting success rate of around 50%-70%.