Cheetahs are the fastest animals on the earth. They can sprint at 70-75 MPH ( 112 to 120 km/h) faster than the fastest running car, the Ferrari. Their long legs, slender body and ultimate energy make this fast running possible.
So just how can this cheetah accelerate faster than a Ferrari? On the exterior, the cheetah is the most slender of the big cats; its lightweight body (weighing about 80-140 lbs.), small head and long legs are designed for aerodynamics & high speed running. Structurally, the cheetah has a unique, flexible spine, which allows for extreme flexion and extension while running at top speeds. In spine flexion, when the cat’s legs are directly underneath its body, the scapula and hip are able to rotate to such an extreme angle that the cheetah’s front and hind legs overlap. To reach extension (Leg stretching outward), the spine recoils like a spring propelling the cheetah’s legs out; it is this portion of the gait where the cheetah is able to reach strides up to 25 feet. Lastly, the cheetah is equipped with blunt, semi-retractable claws, which function similarly to soccer cleats. Since its claws never fully retract, like other big cats, they are always at-the-ready to provide powerful traction to the ground.