How does the cheetah maintain proper body temperature?
Good question! A cheetah’s normal body temperature is 38,5 degrees Celsius or about 102 degrees F. A high normal resting temperature is about 39 degrees C in hotter times of the day, or degrees 103 F. During its high-speed chase in pursuit of prey, the cheetah’s respiratory rate climbs from 60 to 150 breaths per minute, and its body temperature has been measured at 40 degrees C (105 degrees F). Temperatures over 105 degrees F can be fatal, and thus the cheetah needs to rest and cool down after a chase, and it does so by panting. Their enlarged nostrils and sinuses allow an increase in airflow to the lungs, which helps not only while running, but also while panting to cool down. It takes up to 30 minutes for a cheetah’s breathing and temperature to return to normal. Unfortunately, it is during this rest period that the cheetah is most vulnerable to losing its prey to other predators such as hyenas or lions.