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For my vertebrate animal I chose the Cheetah. The Cheetah

or Acinonyx Jubatus is an endangered species. They were

once found throughout Africa and Asia, but are now only

scattered throughout Eastern Africa and a small region of

Southwestern Africa. Cheetahs are threatened by increasing

loss of habitat, decline in prey, and increased poaching for

fur trade. The Cheetah has a tawny coarse coat with round

black spots or "tear stripes" from the corner of the eyes

down to the sides of the nose. They are slender and long

legged, and their claws are non-retractable. They also have

small heads with high set eyes and small ears. Cheetahs

average 44 to 53 inches in length, with an additional tail

length of 26 to 33 inches. The Cheetah's average weight is

86 to 143 pounds. Male Cheetahs are slightly larger than

females. The Cheetahs flexible spine, oversized liver,

enlarged heart, slender muscular body, and unique claws

make it the swiftest hunter in Africa, and the fastest animal

on land. A Cheetah can reach speeds of up to 60 mph. In

the grassy plains and dense bush females live alone, except

when raising cubs. Males live alone or with a small group of

brothers from the same litter. Cheetahs hunt in late morning

and early evening. They stalk their prey first, until they are

within 40 to 90 feet before the chase begins. Chases last


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