Watch How This Cheetah Accelerates Like a Sports Car

The cheetah uses its speed to chase down prey, and occasionally to avoid becoming prey itself.
© iStock.com/slowmotiongli

Written by Sharon Parry

Published: April 7, 2024

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Some predators rely on power to overcome their prey whilst others rely on stealth. The cheetah uses a combination of stealth and phenomenal speed. We rarely get a chance to appreciate just how fast a cheetah can run and how they achieve such high speeds. The footage below gives us a rare, up-close view of a cheetah running at maximum speed.  We get to see how they use their long limbs to propel themselves forward with superb efficiency. Take a look for yourself then read on to find out how cheetahs accelerate to such high speeds.

Watch The Action Now

Cheetah Running At Full Speed

In this extraordinary clip, we are just feet away from a cheetah racing across the sand. From such a close vantage point, you can see how they use a combination of power and agility to achieve maximum speeds. The footage is probably captured from inside a vehicle as no human can run this fast!

Why Do Cheetahs Run So Fast?

Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Adult Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatas) begins running while chasing down Wildebeest calf on Ndutu Plains

Long legs help a cheetah reach top speeds.

©Danita Delimont/Shutterstock.com

Cheetahs can reach speeds of around 65 mph making them the fastest land mammal on earth. However, overall speed is not their only achievement. They can also accelerate incredibly fast – increasing their speed by over 6 mph in a single stride!  They cannot maintain speed for any length of time and usually give up a chase after around 20 seconds. These guys are sprinters, not marathon runners.

Their running style suits their method of hunting. Cheetahs sneak up on prey so that they are close enough to only need a short chase. This is useful for their usual target prey which includes gazelles, impalas, and hares who can all run very fast. Running is a huge part of a cheetah’s hunting instinct and animals that do not run are often left alone!

How Can Cheetahs Run Fast?

Recent research on animals that reach high speeds has discovered that cheetahs have the perfect body size to achieve high speeds. The researchers describe a ‘sweet spot’ in animals that weigh around 130 pounds and whose muscles contract at exactly the right speed and length.

Cheetahs also have a lightweight body and long legs so it takes less energy to propel themselves forward. Added to this are loose hips, a flexible spine, and flexible shoulder joints which allow them to have a huge stride length. You can see this clearly in the above video – check out how far they travel in just one stride – for some cheetahs it’s 25 feet or more. Want to know more about speedy animals? You can read about the fastest animals on earth in A-Z Animal’s article Discover the Top 10

Fastest Land Animals in the World.


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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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