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The Cheetah: One of the Coolest Animals

The cheetah is like the ultimate sports car -- sleek, well-designed and built  for speed. It's flexible spine allows it to achieve a stride equal to a racehorse -- covering up to 22 feet in one stride. Within seconds, a cheetah can reach 60 to 70 miles per hour. So, that means any prey that wanders into the cheetah's general vicinity better be prepared for a hearty chase -- and a more than likely end to their existence.

Not only can the cheetah sprint, it also has claws that give it incredible traction. The cheetah can also change stride in midair to chase prey. In a chase, the cheetah definitely has the advantage.

Once the cheetah catches its prey, it holds the prey's neck with its mouth to strangle it. It will hold the neck of the prey for up to 20 minutes to get the job done. During this time the cheetah's breathing, temperature and heart rate will return to normal. After all, it just had an incredible workout.

You'd think, after all that exertion, that the cheetah would need tons of water. The cool fact is that the cheetah doesn't even need to drink water. Instead, it gets all it needs from eating its prey.

While a cheetah is an ultimate killing machine, it doesn't sound ferocious. Cheetahs do not growl like other big cats. Instead, they purr, squeal, chirp and stutterbark.

While this isn't particularly cool, from a cheetah's standpoint, the cheetah can't guard or defend its prey from other predators. Once its prey has expired, the cheetah must quickly eat it. It may gain some time if it drags the prey to a secluded area away from the prying eyes of vultures, which alert other predators such as lions and hyenas.