Hello, this is a cheeto. But we are not here today to talk about cheetos.
We are here to talk about Cheetahs. This is a cheetah.
Like me, you might have thought, "That's a big, wild cat. It must roar like a tiger or a lion, or Katy Perry." But also like me, you'd be wrong. Because like they say, you do learn a new thing everyday, and today I learned that Cheetahs don't roar...
THEY MEOW!!! Don't believe me? Just watch:
My immediate reaction was exactly this:
This thing...meows?!?!?! AND PURRS?!?!??! Like a little house cat stinkin' up your home??!!
Yes, according to the people who know stuff about these things, that's exactly what they do. Basically, "big cats" like lions, tigers, jaguars, and leopards all have some special ligament in their voice box that allows them to roar:
In these species, the epihyal bone, part of the voice box, is replaced by a ligament. This can be stretched, creating a larger sound-producing passage and thus a wider range of pitch. The more the ligament extends, the lower the sound generated when air passes across the vocal cords. In addition, the cords are large, unbroken and fleshy, which produces deeper sounds.
But cheetahs just have little cat vocal abilities. They aren't even a "big cat" at all!!! So they meow and purr.
In contrast, in the 'small' cats, the bones of the voice box form a fixed structure, with divided vocal cords that vibrate with both in and out breaths. While this design enables these cats to purr continuously (unlike their big cousins), it limits the range of other sounds and prevents them from being able to roar.