Home Animals How Strong Are Cheetahs? A Comprehensive Exploration

How Strong Are Cheetahs? A Comprehensive Exploration


Cheetahs are renowned for their impressive speed, but have you ever stopped to consider their strength? These animals are not just swift runners – they’re also incredibly powerful. In fact, cheetahs are capable of accelerating up to 70 miles per hour, a feat that puts the fastest human athletes to shame. This speed is made possible by their uniquely designed limbs and flexible spines. In addition, cheetahs possess a bite force of 500 PSI, which is three times stronger than that of a typical human. These amazing creatures truly are marvels of nature, and there is much to learn about their incredible abilities.

How Strong Are Cheetahs?

Cheetahs’ primary distinguishing characteristic is their exceptional speed, which is the dominant attribute they possess. This physical prowess consumes the majority of their energy. Nevertheless, cheetahs are more adept at sprinting rather than enduring long-distance runs, as they can only maintain their top speed for less than a minute.

Essentially, their velocity serves as both their greatest advantage and their Achilles’ heel. Cheetahs are unable to sustain prolonged runs due to the necessity of preventing their bodies from overheating. Overheating can lead to fainting in these felines.

Despite being the fastest among large feline species, cheetahs are comparatively weaker within their family. For instance, jaguars, although smaller in size, possess a bite force that is three times more potent than that of cheetahs.

Regarding their physical structure, cheetahs possess bodies specifically designed for speed. They have relatively lightweight ranging from 46 to 160 pounds, even with their substantial build.

These swift felines occupy a lower position on the spectrum of striking force, with approximately 12,000 lb.-ft./s of striking force. Additionally, they possess smaller jaws and teeth, and their claws do not retract.

How Strong Are Cheetahs

Are Cheetahs Stronger Than Humans?

Indeed, cheetahs possess far greater strength than humans, and it extends beyond their impressive speed. In terms of bite force, cheetahs exhibit a minimum strength that is three times greater than that of humans. While they may not be as formidable as their wild relatives when it comes to hunting, these swift felines still possess the ability to crush bones and cause severe injuries to humans.

Fortunately for us, cheetahs are inherently friendly and timid creatures, showing no interest in attacking humans. If they do happen to attack, it is likely due to their territorial boundaries being disrupted.

Despite their strength surpassing that of a human bite, it is relatively weaker compared to other wild feline species.

The cheetah’s smaller head size corresponds to a smaller jaw and teeth, contributing to a somewhat weaker bite force. Additionally, these spotted cats possess teeth that are approximately one inch in size on average, while tigers boast three-inch-long teeth.

When comparing striking strength, cheetahs are capable of delivering blows that are seven times more forceful than those of humans.

Are Cheetahs Stronger Than Lions?

Indeed, lions possess greater physical strength in comparison to cheetahs. However, when it comes to speed, cheetahs surpass lions.

Cheetahs are not regarded as the primary competitors of lions. Aside from the disparity in strength, lions are social animals that reside in groups, whereas cheetahs are solitary creatures.

Moreover, lions have the ability to easily usurp the meals of cheetahs. These swift felines have no alternative but to flee as they lack the means to defend themselves against lions.

To ensure a successful hunt, cheetahs choose to pursue their prey when lions are not present. These spotted felines also execute rapid attacks to secure their meal before it can be stolen from them.

Cheetah Bite Force

Cheetahs possess a bite force of 500 pounds per square inch (PSI), which is three times that of a human bite. Interestingly, this bite force is comparable to that of an English mastiff, which has a bite force of 552 PSI. Although not the most powerful bite force in the animal kingdom, cheetahs are still capable of inflicting serious injuries on anyone caught in their jaws.

The relatively smaller size of their head, jaw, and teeth contributes to the cheetahs’ comparatively weaker bite. These physical features are a tradeoff for their exceptional speed. The small head is proportionate to its long, slender body, allowing for streamlined running.

Despite their smaller teeth, averaging around one inch in length, cheetahs’ teeth are sufficient for cutting through their prey. They utilize their small jaws to seize their target by the neck.

These wild cats have evolved to prioritize speed over sheer strength, resulting in smaller teeth. Nevertheless, cheetahs are recognized as one of the most dangerous animals in Africa.

What Makes a Cheetah So Strong?

Cheetahs derive their strength from various aspects of their anatomy, including their limbs, organs, claws, and bites.

In terms of their limbs, these wild cats possess long and muscular legs that aid in achieving maximum speed. Their flexible spine enables a single stride to cover a remarkable distance of up to 22 feet. Interestingly, cheetahs have relatively smaller hip muscles compared to other fast animals.

According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Anatomy, scientists believe that the back muscles of cheetahs generate power to enhance their running speed. While some theories suggest that cheetahs use their speed to capture prey, a 2013 study published by Science Daily suggests that cheetahs employ their maximum speed primarily to approach their target. Once within striking range, cheetahs often decelerate to match the prey’s evasive manoeuvres.

For cheetahs to achieve their remarkable speed, they possess robust lungs and hearts. Their organs, including enlarged hearts, large livers, and arteries, have adapted to accommodate the demands of rapid locomotion. These adaptations enable cheetahs to maintain their speed comfortably.

During a sprint, cheetahs’ breathing rate increases from 60 breaths per minute to 150 breaths per minute. Their bodies require a high intake of oxygen to support such accelerated movement. In addition to internal organ adaptations, cheetahs’ noses and sinuses also enlarge, ensuring sufficient oxygen intake during their high-speed runs.

While cheetahs possess one of the weakest bites among wild felines, their bite force is still significant enough to crush the bones of their prey. Compared to tigers with a bite force of 1,050 PSI, cheetahs exhibit a bite force that is half as strong. After killing their prey, cheetahs typically start by consuming the nutritious rear flanks, as other predators like lions and hyenas often pose a threat to their meal.

In contrast to other big cats, cheetahs lack retractable claws due to their need for speed. Instead, they possess semi-retractable claws, similar to domesticated cats and dogs. These claws are protected by a sheath of skin when not in use. Semi-retractable claws serve to maintain traction on the ground and can be likened to the running spikes worn by athletes. However, these claws are not effective weapons for killing prey, as they are blunt and curved in shape.


How strong is a cheetah compared to a human?

Cheetahs are known for their incredible speed, but just how strong are they compared to humans? While cheetahs may weigh less than a human, their muscular and skeletal structures are built for strength and agility. The average cheetah can sprint up to 70 miles per hour in just a few seconds, using their powerful leg muscles to launch themselves off the ground. In contrast, even the physically fittest human cannot match that kind of speed and agility. While humans may have strength in other areas, such as endurance and problem-solving skills, when it comes to raw physical power, cheetahs definitely come out on top. 

How powerful is a cheetah’s bite?

Cheetahs are known for their incredible speed, but how powerful is their bite? Despite their razor-sharp teeth, a cheetah’s bite might not be as strong as one would think. They are not built to be formidable predators like lions or hyenas, but rather to outrun their prey. Their jaw muscles and skull structure are not designed to exert a lot of force when biting down. While a cheetah’s bite can certainly cause harm to its prey, it is not their primary method of killing. Instead, they rely on their speed and agility to chase down their meals.

Can a human beat a cheetah in a race?

Cheetahs are known for their incredible speed and agility, able to reach speeds of up to 75 mph in just a few seconds. However, while humans may not be able to match that speed, we do have something the cheetah doesn’t: endurance. While a cheetah’s burst of speed only lasts for a short period of time, humans are capable of maintaining a steady pace for much longer. So, while it may be unlikely that a human could beat a cheetah in a short race, over a longer distance, the odds may start to even out. 


Cheetahs are renowned for their incredible speed, making them the fastest animal on land. Their long legs, powerful muscles, and lean bodies allow them to reach top speeds of up to 70 miles per hour. However, this speed comes at a cost, as cheetahs are weaker than their feline cousins. Their smaller jaws, teeth, and weaker bite force make them vulnerable to attacks from other predators. Despite this, cheetahs have adapted to their environment and developed unique hunting strategies to ensure their survival. They carefully plan their hunts to avoid confrontation with lions and hyenas, who often steal their prey.


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A motivated philosophy graduate and student of wildlife conservation with a deep interest in human-wildlife relationships, including wildlife communication, environmental education, and conservation anthropology. Offers strong interpersonal, research, writing, and creativity skills.

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A motivated philosophy graduate and student of wildlife conservation with a deep interest in human-wildlife relationships, including wildlife communication, environmental education, and conservation anthropology. Offers strong interpersonal, research, writing, and creativity skills.


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