A cheetah looks poised to bolt in Namibia.
Stunning Pictures of Cheetahs in Action
In honor of International Cheetah Day, we chose our favorite images of the world's fastest land animal—which is also in danger of extinction.
The world's fastest land animal is hard to catch on camera—but these 21 photographers managed to snap the big cat in action.
Lightweight predators built for sprinting, cheetahs can go from a dead stop to 60 miles per hour in just three seconds. Their spotted coats provide camouflage that allow them to hunt during the day, unlike other big cats.
Cheetahs also have long, flexible spines and large nasal cavities that help them recover after bursts of speed. When they're hunting, the cats' heads remain stable, letting them fix their eyes on prey as their legs propel them forward. (Learn more about wild felines with the Big Cats Initiative.)
However, these speedy predators are racing toward extinction—the International