Cheetahs belong to the cat family. They can meow and purr just like your cat. They make other sounds, too. They also bark like dogs. They growl, hiss, and even chirp! They do not roar.
Cheetahs are big cats. They are about three feet tall. Adult cheetahs weigh between 80 and 150 pounds. They have small heads with small teeth. Their ears are small. Their bodies are long and sleek. They have long legs. They have fur that is golden or yellowish brown. Their color can be called tawny. They have round black spots.
Cheetahs are best known for their speed. They can run faster than a car on the highway (70 miles per hour) in about three seconds. They can't run fast for very long, though. After only one minute, their bodies get too hot. They must stop to cool down or they will die.
A cheetah's claws stay out all the time. This helps them run faster. The claws grip the ground. When a cheetah runs, only one paw touches the ground at a time. They leap off the ground with each running stride (step). Each stride can cover seven meters (about 23 feet)! Two times in each stride, they have no paws on the ground! They seem to sail over the land.
A cheetah's tail is long. It is used for making quick turns. Their tails are like rudders on ships. Cheetahs can easily make sharp turns even when running at top speed.Paragraphs 6 to 11:
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