In the real world, cheetahs rarely go all out

Famous for speed, the big cats actually rely on acceleration

By Susan Milius, 09:59 AM June 28, 2013

Cheetahs may run down a track faster than any other land animal. But in the wild, the cats rarely hit top speed; it’s quick bursts of acceleration and sudden slow-downs that get the cats their dinner.

“They’re not going particularly quickly usually,” says Alan M. Wilson of the University of London Royal Veterinary College in Hatfield.

But cheetahs have got some great moves. With first-of-its-kind tracking of cheetahs on the hunt, Wilson and his colleagues show that the animals can accelerate with ...

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