Known for their incredible speed and spotted fur, cheetahs have secured the record for the fastest land animal in the world. They can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in about five seconds! Zoo Miami recently became home to a couple of these fast felines, Koda and Diesel. These two brothers, both 11 months old, were brought to Zoo Miami from the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre in South Africa in November 2012. Koda, whose name means “friend” in the Native American Sioux language, was named by his benefactors, although he did earn himself a nickname while in South Africa: "Joe Cool". This affectionate nickname was given to him because of his proud and aloof behavior. While he is quite social and interactive, he tends to act a bit more hard-to-get than his brother. Diesel is just a bit smaller than Koda, weighing 65 pounds. His name was chosen by popular demand, in a naming contest that was open to Zoo Miami fans. He is very playful and friendly, and wastes no time pretending to be hard to get. These brothers are pretty close, spending lots of time running around with each other and playing around with just about anything they can get their paws on. To them, everything is a toy, including each other! Keepers keep these cats entertained with soccer balls, basketballs, and scratching posts. But with razor sharp teeth and claws like theirs, these toys don’t stand much of a chance. Keepers are always replacing shredded toys! Koda and Diesel are also kept busy during their practice sessions for the daily Wildlife Presentations at the Sami Family Amphitheater. They are learning how to jump and walk around on stage, and according to keepers, they are loving every second of it! Keepers are working up to being able to walk the cheetahs around the zoo and take them to venues off zoo grounds to raise awareness about cheetah conservation efforts.
Zoo Miami is currently CLOSED. We're working hard to clean the mess Hurricane Irma left us so we can reopen and welcome our guests again. Check back for a reopening date.