Animals Up Close: Cheetah

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WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – If you encountered the cheetahs in the wild, you’d probably have a difficult time keeping up with them.

As the fastest land mammals, they can run up to 70 miles an hour.

Normally guests at the Oglebay Good Zoo have to be 18 or older to meet Frankie and Andiamo (Andi), but they made a special exception for the Animals Up Close winner.  

If you do feed this duo, you better hurry up. 12-year-old Frankie and Andi will let you hear about it if you don’t.

“These guys can not roar,” explained Mindi White with the Oglebay Good Zoo. “They’re not able to do that, but these guys can actually purr.”

And they’ll also make a meow noise if you hold up their meal.  

Since cheetahs have a need for speed, their bodies are built that way too with features like non-retractable claws.

“They actually can grip into the ground and run fast. It’s like a football cleat,” White continued.

It may not seem that way to look at their spots, but cheetahs are also great at hiding.

“It actually doesn’t look like a good camouflage on them,” Animals Up Close winner 10-year-old Callie helped explain. “Where they come from the grass is brown and then on the top it’s black with like seeds.” 

Their long tail also helps to find a meal.

“That tail’s actually flat, not round, so when they have to stop on a dime and turn, which a gazelle they’re chasing they can do it and use their tail like a rudder,” White said.

Cheetahs only eat meat, which was what they snacked on for this Animals Up Close visit.

If this were the wild, Frankie and Andi would probably stay together. 

“Males will form groups, even in the wild,” White added. “That’s how these boys are getting along. When we had a female we only had one because females do not live with other cheetahs.” 

The Oglebay Good Zoo is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and on the weekends from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

The zoo does do animal encounters with Frankie and Andi, but you must be 18 or older to participate. 

For more information call 304-243-4100, or visit their website.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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