Cheetah Agility and Maneuverability More Important than Speed

Sophisticated Tracking Collars Show Surprising Results

Cheetah in Namibia

Cheetah photographed in Namibia by Joanne McGonagle

Cheetahs might be the fastest land animal but a new study reveals it isn’t speed but extreme agility and maneuverability that’s key to bringing down their prey.  A team from the Royal Veterinary College, UK, working with the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust,  used custom-built tracking collars containing GPS and inertial measurement units to capture the locomotor dynamics of cheetahs hunting in the wild.

In the 1960’s cheetahs were clocked reaching speeds of 64 miles per hour, but research using modern technology shows the cheetah’s speed at 40 mph. These studies were carried out with captive cheetahs and could give little insight into how a cheetah uses their speed in the wild. So researchers collared five wild cheetahs and tracked their movement. These sophisticated collars are capable of of monitoring speed, acceleration, deceleration and location. Data was collected for 367 runs over 17 months.

Cheetahs Rely on Agility and Maneuverability

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