A cheetah is a mammal that mostly lives in the African Savanna. It is covered in spots and has black markings under its eyes. Cheetahs are in the genus or family Acinonyx. They are unlike big cats like tigers or lions because they do not have retractable claws that they can pull in. Their claws are always out because it gives them traction when running. Cheetahs are the fastest land animal on the planet!! In one sprint, it can reach speeds up to 70 miles per hour!!! That is about 2 times as fast as a car going on a local road! Cheetahs can only run at this speed in short bursts, each lasting about 40 seconds. If a cheetah is going to hunt, it has to try to catch its prey in the first 40 seconds. After that, the cheetah will get very tired. These are some things in the cheetah’s body that help it run very, very. very fast. Cheetahs have a very long and flexible backbone. This helps the cheetah run very fast and helps with moving quickly. The cheetah is also very light. Their average weight is 60 pounds. That is very light, compared to other big cats that weigh about 200 pounds. The cheetah also has sharp claws for traction or connection to the ground.