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Unique Cheetah Coat Patterns

Quick Facts

Conservation status : Endangered
In the wild : 10
Maximum speed : 75 mph
First sighting : 1926

Our King Cheetahs

Virginia Safari Park is the only place in the United States where visitors can see the rare king cheetah. Originally thought to be a separate subspecies, the king cheetah is an African cheetah that features recessive genes. This color variation is naturally occurring and creates a unique pattern. Their extra thick coat features thick blotchy patterns instead of the defined spots. Come see our star king cheetahs, siblings Sully and Shani.

In the Wild

King cheetahs have been observed in the wild only six times in the past century – in Botswana, Zimbabwe and northern South Africa. The last occurrence was in 1986.


King cheetahs are among the rarest animals on Earth. In fact, there may be only 10 in the wild and another 50 live in captivity, including our residents. Cheetahs in general face threats of extinction. We have an ongoing partnership with the Cheetah Conservation Fund to assist their efforts in protecting the species.

Read how we help

Learn What the King Cheetah Eats

King cheetahs are carnivores, or meat eaters. In the wild, they hunt gazelles, impalas and antelopes. King cheetahs consume about 6 pounds of meat per day. They can, however, go a few days without eating and even longer without drinking.

Observe our Cheetahs in Their Habitat

Sully, Shani, and Sanura love it when guests visit their habitat. You'll often find them playing and chasing each other. Sully and Shani are King Cheetah and can be identified by their unique coat as compared to Sanura's coat. 

Your Visit

Plan your trip to the Virginia Safari Park! Get driving directions from seven nearby cities/states, as well as links to other local attractions. You can also buy tickets and download a map of the park.

Meet the Other Animals