Which mammal is the fastest?
The cheetah can run as fast as 70 miles (110 kilometers) per hour, making it the fastest mammal in the world. They accelerate from 0 to 45 miles (72 kilometers) per hour in just two seconds, reaching top speeds of about 70 miles per hour for up to 300 yards. Its body parts are built for speed: Large nostrils, lungs, liver, heart, and adrenals give the cheetah an ability to respond to its environment and hunt down prey. Its long, slender body is flexible and curls like a whip when it needs to make huge bursts of acceleration—usually to hunt down a small antelope or escape the jaws of a pack of hungry hyenas. Special paw pads and nonretractible claws provide traction for sprinting. The cheetah (which comes from the Indian name for “spotted one”) lives in the open savannas of southwestern Asia and Africa, where it has lots of room to run, roam, and hunt down its prey. Cheetah mothers spend much time teaching their young how to hunt game. The mothers bring small, live antelopes—such as gazelles or impalas—to the cubs and release them, so they can chase and catch them. The cheetah usually hunts during daylight, preferring early morning or early evening, but is also active on moonlit nights. They communicate by purring, hissing, whining, and growling.