|The name "cheetah" comes from a Hindi word meaning "spotted one" or from the Sanskrit word "chitraka". An adult has
yellow or tan fur with solid black round or oval spots measuring .75 to 1.5 inches (1.9 to 3.8 centimeters) in diameter.
The spots cover nearly the entire body; only the white throat and abdomen are unmarked. The tail ends with 4-6 black
rings and a bushy, white tuft. The spot pattern plus the ring pattern on the tail enable the identification of specific
cheetahs (by humans). The head is small with eyes set high and a black "tear mark" running from the inner aspect of
each eye down to the mouth. The teeth are small to accommodate large nasal passages. An adult cheetah weighs
80-140 pounds (36-64 kilograms), is about 32 inches (81 centimeters) tall at the shoulder and 48-56 inches (121-142
centimeters) long with another 28-32 inches (70-81 centimeters) in tail - males are a little larger than females. Cheetahs
are sometimes mistaken for leopards - much heavier animals with rosette shaped spots and no tear marks.
|TALL WORLD TALES