Cheetah Adaptations: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 What Is an Adaptation?
  • 0:48 Running
  • 1:58 Other Cheetah Adaptations
  • 2:42 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jenny Homer

Jenny has masters' degrees in public health and public administration.

You might know that the cheetah runs faster than any other land animal, but do you know how it can move so quickly? Find out about the adaptations that make this animal amazingly fast and such a good hunter.

What Is an Adaptation?

Imagine that you're in Africa watching the beautiful wildlife. There's a group of antelope nearby. Suddenly, something moves fast toward the herd. One unlucky antelope is tackled and will be dinner for the animal that came out of nowhere, the cheetah. This cat is famous for being a speedy runner, and they've been measured running at about 70 miles per hour - faster than a car on the highway! It's hard to imagine, but it only takes about 3 seconds for them to reach 60 miles per hour.

Have you ever thought about why the cheetah can run so quickly, but other cats or animals can't? It turns out that cheetahs have certain adaptations, features that an animal develops in order to live in a specific environment. Let's look at the adaptations that make the cheetah the fierce, fast animal we know today.


Think about when you run as fast as you can for a short distance. While running, it's not easy to make a quick turn or stop suddenly. You'd probably find yourself out of breath, too. The cheetah's body is made in a way that takes care of some of these issues.

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