Most of you might have seen Cheetahs sprinting to hunt down prey on television shows. A new study by Alan Wilson of the UK’s Royal Veterinary College has found that the beasts operate at the extreme of their athletic performance, and that their ability to accelerate along with its ability to slow down and quickly change direction makes cheetah the best hunter.
Scientists who went deep in to the forest for a detailed study, noted that Cheetahs can generate four times the maximum output of Usain Bolt when they sprint and they boast maneuverability far ahead of any other animal when hunting prey.
Wilson says Cheetahs get lateral accelerations better than what a motorbike can achieve. His team attached collars equipped with GPS and accelerometers and tracked five wild cheetahs in the Okavango Delta in Botswana and studied the speed and fancy footwork of 367 runs by this cat family member for a year.
During the course of their research, they found that Cheetahs recorded a top speed of 58mph, making them fastest land animals on earth. However, the average speed hovered around 31.5 mph, with most sprints below 45mph. Now, that is even better than the 40 mph speed generated by a race horse or greyhound!
It was also recorded that most cheetahs choose not to run at top gear when hunting, and wisely look to concentrate more on accelerating and maneuvering well during the process which suits best in capturing large prey.
Cheetahs are in fact able to accelerate up to 3 metres per second and slow down by 4 metres per second in a single stride. At the peak of its acceleration, muscle power output was recorded as 100 watts/kg which is 4x power generated by Usain Bolt when he sprinted to 100 m at world record time of 9.58 s.
The animal’s athleticism, maneuvering, acceleration and deceleration have left the scientists in awe. We too are wonderstruck, aren’t we?