Cheetah hunting prey in Africa is not built for long distance chases but rather for short bursts of blurring speed.
Everything form the small head, slender body and highly developed respiratory system contribute to them being known as nature's speed machines.
Special paw pads and claws that are blunt and semi-retractable claws provide great traction.
Large nostrils and lungs provide quick air intake.
These African animals are highly specialized for a particular style of hunting.
Cheetahs use places of elevation such as a termite mound or trees as vantage points to keep a lookout for prey.
If cover is available they will use it when stalking.
They typically select the least vigilant prey on the fringes of a group of animals.
If they work in a team one cheetah will draw the mother's attack the other will chase the infant.
A cheetah hunting its prey will start with a slow stalk.
This will be followed by an explosive acceleration to a full-speed at 100 to 120 km/h chase.
If its prey sees it before it gets within about 100 meter it will give up the stalk because it depends on the element of surprise for success.
If it can get within 100 meters it will charge.
Their chances of success are better if it can attack from less than 30 m while its prey is still unaware of its presence.
They can then be up to full speed while its prey is still getting into its stride.
Antelopes can easily outperform cheetahs when it comes to endurance.
The most common cause of failure in cheetah hunts is that the prey sees them before they charge.
A cheetah hunting its prey trips it with one or both forepaws.
When the prey is knocked off balance it gives them a chance to grab it by the throat.
It will then suffocate it with a clamping bite to the underside of the neck.
Their teeth are too short for the killing bite used by other cats.
If there is cover nearby it will drag its kill there to escape the notice of other carnivores and vultures.
Vultures are not only competitors in their own right but also attract the attention of lions and spotted hyenas.
They feed quickly before their kills can be stolen.
Their light build and small teeth make them very vulnerable to attacks by other predators.
With its lightweight teeth and skull this African animal has difficulty biting through the skin of even small antelope.
It usually starts feeding at the groin where the skin is thin.
It eats the meat off one thigh, then the belly, the other thigh and finally the forelegs.
They do not eat the skin and intestines of their prey and can chew up only small bones.
The favorite prey of a cheetah hunting for its food is smallish antelope like -
They also eat smaller mammals such as -
Hunts for large antelope like yearling wildebeest, kudu, waterbuck and gemsbok are successful only when a group of cheetahs operate together in a coalition.
In the Kalahari 87% of their kills are springbok.
In the Kruger National Park they eat -
In Etosha 97% of their diet is made up of springbok.
They do not usually scavenge.