The REAL king of beasts...

The cheetah is my favorite big cat.  It has its own little genus and species, its own little idiosyncrasies. It's a cat that has little talent for climbing, but can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds...faster than an ultra-high-end sports car.

Some cheetahs also have a rare fur pattern mutation. Cheetahs with larger, blotchy, merged spots are known as "king cheetahs". 

Although often mistaken for a leopard because of its spotted pelt and similar size, it's easy to identify a cheetah:

1st IK*: Just look for the distinctive black "tear marks" that run from its eyes, along the nose, and to the mouth.

2nd IK: Tan with round black spots all over

3rd IK: Small head for body size, long legs and tail

*On many of my blog posts, I will have photos showing readily identifiable characteristics of each animal. I will provide a general description that gives clues to help identify the animal, and then some specific Identification Key, or IKs, as seen and described in the photos. (More about identification keys here.)