How does a cheetah run so fast?

Cheetah RunningOn e of the joys of teaching a zoology class is that there are so many amazing stories to tell about how different animals are uniquely adapted to their lifestyle/environment. One such story is about why the cheetah so fast. Their springy, springy spine, and leg muscles dominated by fast twitch fibers (among other things) allow them to max speeds of around 70 mph as they chase their prey. Cheetah’s are marvelously adapted for speed, and the videos below do a great job demonstrating this.

The first video, from National Geographic, explains in more detail how cheetahs were built to sprint.

The second video provides some of the raw footage taken of the cheetah running in slow motion – truly amazing!

About Peter Larson

I'm a recovering academic, current high school biology/zoology teacher, blogger, and science geek with diverse interests (and experience) in the areas of zoology, anatomy, evolutionary biology, developmental biology, and exercise science. I made the fairly unusual jump from higher ed (10 years, including tenure, as a college biology professor) to teaching high school biology at Coe-Brown Northwood Academy in Northwood, NH. In addition to being a dedicated teacher, I'm also an avid distance runner - I write about running at You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.