SPOT THE DIFFERENCE AT THE ZOO
Cheetahs are here!
Break out your polka dots to welcome the newest additions to the Woodland Park Zoo family! We’re talking about cheetahs, of course, and we’re putting the spotlight on these newest dotted denizens in an all new, temporary exhibit in the Wildlife Survival Zone.
Cheetahs are vulnerable in the wild and it's time to think fast to protect them!
The Species Survival Plan, a conservation breeding program among accredited zoos, enlisted our assistance to care for Liz and Missy, a pair of 14-year-old, female cheetahs arriving from Oregon’s Wildlife Safari, for six to 18 months. By providing a temporary home for the girls, we are able to help the conservation breeding program by creating additional space for the next generation of offspring produced at Wildlife Safari. Between the two of them, Liz and Missy have reared 15 cubs of their own throughout their lifetimes!
Look for the cheetahs in the zoo’s newly reinterpreted Wildlife Survival Zone, where you’ll discover other threatened species the zoo is working to save through breeding, research and field work, including red pandas and cranes.
Meet the Cheetahs
How can you tell apart Liz and Missy, our two 14-year-old female cheetahs? Try these handy tips!
Born at The Anne van Dyk Cheetah Centre in South Africa, 1999.
Personality: You’ll find her stretching out in the summer sun and watching the birds.
Physical characteristics: Liz is distinguishable by the line and dots above her eyes. She has a lighter color overall and a thicker chest.
Born at Wassenaar Wildlife Breeding Centre in The Netherlands, 1999.
Personality: This cheetah enjoys snacking and napping!
Physical characteristics: Missy is distinguishable by the vertical stripe above her eyes and darker color overall.
Built for Speed
The amazing cheetah runs in short bursts of up to 65 mph! Their bodies are perfectly adapted for speed.
- Small, lightweight head is easy to hold steady while running
- Short skull and large nostrils improve air supply, allowing them to breathe while holding large prey in their jaws
- Black tear marks on their face help reduce glare
- Flexible spine coils like a spring and launches their body like a catapult extending their stride to 26 feet
- Large chest with lungs and a heart to match make high speeds possible
- Black spots dotted across their fur offer some camouflage as they slink along savanna grasses, stalking prey before bursting into attack mode at high speed.
- Blunt claws act like track spikes
- Textured pads act like tire treads making for great traction
Read the complete cheetah fact sheet
10:30 a.m. Daily through Sept. 1, 2014
Watch what happens when zookeepers set off a moving, speeding target in the cheetah exhibit. Then stick around to learn all about these fascinating felines.
LEARN MORE DURING YOUR VISIT
Look for daily activities in our Wildlife Survival Zone to learn more about cheetahs, from their natural history to how we care for them at the zoo.
See daily activities