The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is an atypical member of the cat family (Felidae) that is unique in its speed, while lacking strong climbing abilities. It is the fastest land animal, reaching speeds between 112 and 120 km per hour in short bursts covering distances up to 460 metre and has the ability to accelerate from 0 to 103 km per hour.
The cheetah's chest is deep and its waist is narrow. The coarse, short fur of the cheetah is tan with round black spots measuring from 2 to 3 cm across, affording it some camouflage while hunting.
There are no spots on its white underside, but the tail has spots, which merge to form four to six dark rings at the end. The tail usually ends in a bushy white tuft.
The cheetah has a small head with high-set eyes. Black "tear marks" running from the corner of its eyes down the sides of the nose to its mouth keep sunlight out of its eyes and aid in hunting and seeing long distances.
Although it can reach high speeds, its body cannot stand long distance running. It is a sprinter.
The adult cheetah weighs from 36 to 65 kg and its total body length is from 115 to 135 cm, while the tail can measure up to 84 cm in length. Cheetahs are 67 to 94 cm in height at the shoulder. Males tend to be slightly larger than females and have slightly bigger heads, but there is not a great variation in cheetah sizes and it is difficult to tell males and females apart by appearance alone.