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Watch a cheetah sprint to 60 mph from a GoPro on its back

A GoPro camera recently captured what it’s like to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds — and on four legs. The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden strapped a GoPro onto a cheetah to explore the world’s fastest land animal from a first-person point of view.

The task was actually simpler than it sounds. The cheetah, Savannah, was raised with collars and harnesses at an early age. In the video, Savannah is actually purring as handler Alicia Sampson straps the GoPro Fetch harness and Hero3 camera on her back.

“She’s used to harnesses and collars, so it’s just another day for her,” Sampson said.

So, what’s it like to hit 60 miles per hour in just three seconds? A bit bumpy, actually. The cheetah’s back arches up and down as she runs, moving the attached camera with her. Even with the bouncy footage, the video makes it easy to imagine just how moving that fast would feel.

But watch the video in slow motion, and the rhythm of the cheetah’s run is actually quite intricate. As the body moves, her head stays relatively in the same place.

“You wouldn’t want to ride a cheetah,” said Cincinnati Zoo Director, Thane Maynard, adding that the cheetah doesn’t move like a horse’s body does while running. “What amazes me is that their head stays fairly steady even though their body is going wild.”

Savannah has been clocked at speeds of more than 60 miles per hour. In just three strides, cheetahs can reach 40 mph, hitting their top speed faster than most cars. While the animals are known for their speed, they also have excellent eyesight with a wide-angle view, thanks to the elongated shape — so that wide GoPro perspective could just be the closest thing to capture what it’s like to be a cheetah.

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