This cat is a living Lamborghini! It is truly built for speed with every part of its body adapted in some way to help it run faster.
• Large, hard paw pads and semi-retractable claws provide great traction.
• A small skull reduces wind resistance.
• Large nostrils and lungs provide quick air intake.
• A large liver, heart, and adrenals also facilitate a rapid physical response.
• A long, fluid, greyhound-like body is streamlined over light bones.
• Small collarbones and vertical shoulder blades help lengthen the stride.
• The tail acts as a rudder for quick turning.
• The eye's retinal fovea is of an elongated shape, giving the cheetah a sharp, wide-angle view of its surroundings. (The human fovea is round.)
• The dark tear marks beneath each eye may minimizing the sun's glare.
• The spine works as a spring to give the cheetah added reach for each step.
But the great speed is very taxing physiologically. The top speed, 71 miles per hour (114 kilometers per hour), can usually be maintained for only 200-300 yards. (274 meters). At that point the cheetah's body temperature increases from the exertion and rest is mandatory.