Cheetahs are known for their high running speeds which are comparable to the cruising speed of a car on the highway. This is accomplished by a body structure that is lightweight and slender, and long legs. The cheetah has a spine that can can bend easily for agility in hunting their prey. They also have an enlarged heart and nasal passages specialized for ease of respiration. Their flat rib cages also assist with ease of respiration while running.
In contrast to other big cats, cheetahs are unable to retract their claws. The tail of a cheetah is vital in the running process when it uses it to balance its body weight during quick turns. Also of note is that a cheetah’s body can stretch out to 2 meters in length.
Photo credit: http://www.cleveland.com/nation/index.ssf/2009/09/cincinnati_zoo_cheetah_set_wor.html
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