Is a cheetah born with spots?

BBC Wildlife's Q&A editor Sarah McPherson discusses cheetah spots. 

Is a cheetah born with spots?

Cheetah family in the Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya © Paul Souders/ Getty


Yes – and the pattern, as unique to each individual as fingerprints are to humans, stays the same throughout its life.

A cub is quite dark at birth, with tufts of silver-grey fur along its back, helping it to blend into tall grass. This mantle is lost from about three months. 


Click here to read more of our Wildlife Q&As.

Do you have a wildlife question you’d like answered? Email your question to or post it to Q&A, BBC Wildlife Magazine, Immediate Media Company, 2nd Floor, Tower House, Fairfax Street, Bristol, BS1 3BN

We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here