Cheetahs go for a jog (at 42mph)

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cheetahHOUSTON, TX – Maybe you didn’t realize that December 4th is International Cheetah Day?! If you live under a rock, we’re not judging.

Kito and Kiburi, two big cats from the Houston Zoo marked the occasion with a field trip to the Dynamo practice field. They didn’t play soccer, but they did go for a jog (their top speed was 42 mph!).

“Which isn’t too bad considering a wild cheetah will go about 70 mph and these guys don’t get as much exercise,” says Sara Riger, the zoo’s Carnivore Supervisor.

Trainers say they have been able to freely handle and interact with the big kitties since they were babes. Cheetahs are apparently just wired a bit differently than other big cats.

“50% of the kills cheetahs make in the wild end up being taken by hyenas and lions because cheetahs don’t want the conflict,” says Riger.

The cheetahs are on exhibit at the zoo.