Scholastic News Online

Scholastic News Online is a free resource with breaking news and highlights from the print magazine.

Available for grades 1-6, Scholastic News magazine brings high-interest current events and nonfiction to millions of classrooms each week.

Additionally, our subscribers have FREE access to Scholastic News Interactive, an exclusive online learning tool featuring digital editions, videos, interactive features, differentiated articles, and much more.

Cheetahs are able to reach top speeds of 62 miles per hour—more than twice as fast as the speediest man on Earth! (Simon King / Minden Pictures)

Why Cheetahs Are Such Great Hunters

Scientists discover there's a lot more than speed involved

By Joe Bubar | July 26 , 2013
<p>Cheetahs are particularly effective hunters because of their ability to turn quickly and reach top speeds in a short amount of time. (Winfried Wisniewski / Minden Pictures)</p>

Cheetahs are particularly effective hunters because of their ability to turn quickly and reach top speeds in a short amount of time. (Winfried Wisniewski / Minden Pictures)

You might know that cheetahs are the fastest animals on land. But that speed isn't the only reason they're great hunters. A recent study shows that a cheetah’s biggest weapon is actually the way in which it starts, stops, and makes sharp turns.

“We always thought of cheetahs as sprinters,” says Alan Wilson. “But now it looks as though sprinting is only part of the story.” Wilson is the leader of the team from the University of London’s Royal Veterinary College that completed the study.


Scientists have long known that cheetahs are able to reach top speeds of 62 miles per hour (mph)—more than twice as fast as Olympic gold-medal sprinter Usain Bolt. But when researchers placed special collars on five cheetahs in Botswana, a country in southern Africa, they found out something even more amazing about how cheetahs hunt!

For 17 months, the collars tracked the speed and movements of the cheetahs while they chased down their prey (animals hunted by other animals as food). From the 367 chases that were recorded, scientists learned that the big cats can accelerate faster than any other land animal.

Acceleration is how much an object increases speed over time. It describes how quickly an object can move from zero miles per hour to its top speed. The cheetahs were able to accelerate with four times the power of a human sprinter. They would leave even many cars in the dust!


The scientists also found that cheetahs have an incredible ability to slam on the brakes and make sharp turns. This comes in handy when chasing down animals that are able to run for much longer periods of time, like antelope. A cheetah hunt usually lasts no longer than one minute.

“Capturing prey seems to come down to maneuvering,” Wilson told the Associated Press. “It’s all the zigzagging, ducking, and diving.”

Scientists want to use the same types of collars to study other animals. They hope to discover more secrets behind the best hunters in the animal kingdom.

  • Scholastic Store
  • The Scholastic Store  
    Inch by Inch

    Inch by Inch

    by Leo Lioni

    A winsome, winning inchworm, proud of his ability to measure anything under the sun, finds out that his is a lifesaving skill, too, when a hungry bird gets a little too close.

    $6.29 You save: 10%
    books;paperback books;paperback picturebooks | Ages 4-8
    Add To Cart
    Inch by Inch
    Ages 4-8 $6.29
  • Scholastic Store
  • The Scholastic Store  
    Predator Cities #3: Infernal Devices

    Predator Cities #3: Infernal Devices

    by Philip Reeve

    The third thrilling book in the stunning Predator Cities series!

    Her parents, Tom and Hester, are happy in static Anchorage, whose rusting engines are long dead. Their daughter is desperate to escape - and a charming submarine pirate is ready to help her. But the mysterious object that she steals for him ignites a conflict that will tear the whole world apart...


    Philip Reeve is the bestselling author of the Mortal Engines quartet, the highly acclaimed Here Lies Arthur, No Such Thing as Dragons, Fever Crumb and A Web of Air. He lives in Dartmoor, England with his wife and son. Visit him online at

    $6.29 You save: 30%
    books;paperback books;paperbacks | Ages 12 and Up
    Add To Cart
    Predator Cities #3: Infernal Devices
    Ages 12 and Up $6.29
Privacy Policy




Here's something interesting from