Quirky News

  • 17 December 2012, 11:49

Zoo borrows racetrack for its cheetahs

A US zoo has been borrowing a racetrack - so its pair of cheetahs can stretch their legs.

As the world's fastest animals, the big cats need to run at full stretch to burn off metabolic compounds.

But Houston Zoo does not have the room for Kito and Kiburi to reach their 65mph top speed - so they have been borrowing the nearby Sam Houston Race Park.

"They need about 600 feet," said Beth Schaefer, the zoo's curator of primates and carnivores. "We don't have that straightaway anywhere on zoo grounds."

She says the racetrack, which is enclosed with fencing, has proved the perfect exercise yard for the five-year-old cheetah brothers.

"We knew if things went completely as wrong, as they could, we were going to be able to get these cheetahs back on leash," she added.

"They were so calm it was amazing. It was like they had been there every day of their lives.

"We think because it's so wide open. Cheetahs on the plains are comfortable with wide-open spaces."