Food Chain of a Cheetah

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  • 0:01 What Is A Food Chain?
  • 1:09 Cheetah Food Chains
  • 2:43 Importance
  • 3:25 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Amanda Robb

Amanda holds a Masters in Science from Tufts Medical School in Cellular and Molecular Physiology. She has taught high school Biology and Physics for 8 years.

This lesson is on the food chain of a cheetah. We'll explore how food and energy is transmitted between different species in the cheetah's home, the African Savanna.

What Is a Food Chain?

Are you feeling hungry? Me too; let's go to the fridge and get some juice, maybe even a yogurt. But where did that food really come from? Sure, I went to the fridge, but that food came from cows who made milk, which got their energy from plants, which also made the juice. The way food gets from the plants to other animals and ultimately to you is called a food chain. Technically, a food chain, looks more like a web, and is a diagram showing the flow of energy through a system of living things. This happens in every ecosystem on Earth, and we're going to zoom in on a specific food web for cheetahs.

A food chain always starts with a base called producers. These are organisms that make their own food, or produce energy for the ecosystem. Producers are usually green plants. Next come the primary consumers, or herbivores. These guys just eat plants. After the herbivores come the secondary consumers, which eat the herbivores. Lastly, top predators, eat the secondary consumers and regulate the entire food chain.

Cheetah Food Chains

Cheetahs are a top predator in the African Savanna. They are large, tan cats with black spots or ovals on their coat. Cheetahs can run at incredibly fast speeds, which is how they catch their prey in the food chain, up to 75 miles per hour! This is the same speed you might travel on the highway at in your car!

To understand more about how cheetahs fit into the food web, let's start with the producers. The producers in the African Savanna are the well known grasslands, such as Bermuda grass and Elephant grass. Trees spot the landscape as well, such as Jackalberry tree and the Acacia tree. The plants in the African Savanna are specialized to survive in long periods of drought and heat that occur in the dry months.

The primary consumers involved in supporting the cheetah are mainly small, hoofed animals. Impalas, antelope, wildebeest, and gazelles are all herbivores that cheetahs feed on. These animals move in packs across the Savanna, grazing on the producers.

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