When a cheetah sets off to run down its prey, you can see that the entire animal has evolved for speed. Lightweight body, explosive power, there isn't another animal on earth capable of running so fast.
The Cheetahs dedication to speed has made it the worlds fastest land animal, capable of reaching a top speed of between 112 and 120 km/h (70 and 75 mph), but they are only able to maintain this in short bursts otherwise their bodies would quickly overheat!
During their high speed sprints they can cover distances up to 460 m (1,500 ft), and have the ability to accelerate from 0 to 103 km/h (64 mph) in three seconds.
On the open savannas of Iran and parts of Africa, cheetahs are superb examples of specialization - the evolutionary adaptation to very specific environmental conditions. In this case, the specialization is for speed. Going after impalas, gazelles and small wildebeests, the cheetah is a blur, and the chase is short-lived, typically lasting about 30 seconds. Cheetah moms spend a lot of time teaching their cubs to chase, sometimes dragging live animals back to the den so the cubs can practice the chase-and-catch process.
When a cheetah overtakes its prey, it knocks it down and takes it out with a bite to the neck. It then eats as quickly as possible. If a lion comes along, the cheetah will abandon its catch - there is no way that it would be able to fight off a lion as the cheetah cannot match its physical strength, power or toughness. The chances are, against a lion, the cheetah will lose its own life along with its prey if it doesn't get out of there fast enough.