Did you know that Cheetahs can’t roar? Despite all of the David Attenborough and National Geographic nature films, this is something that until now I was blissfully unaware of. Sure, I had seen them dozens of times on television, and even from time to time in zoos, but the fact that I failed to hear a roar didn’t seem to signify to me that cheetahs can’t roar. I suppose I subconsciously put it down to the fact that just because I hadn’t heard them roar it didn’t mean that they can’t.
So why can’t cheetahs roar?
So this begs the question. Why can’t cheetahs roar? The reason cheetahs can’t roar is because of a difference in a piece of anatomy in the throat called the hyoid bone. All cats have this hyoid bone, but only the big cats that can roar have a two piece hyoid bone. The two piece hyoid bone is what makes it possible for cats to roar. Cheetahs only have a one-piece hyoid bone. But not being able to roar doesn’t mean that they are a quite cat. On the contrary. They can perform a large range of vocalizations, and some of them can be heard from around a mile away. So that is why cheetahs can’t roar. But what sound do they make?