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Animorphs in cheetah morphs

"Cheetah. Quite possibly the most gorgeous wild cat ever to roam the savannah. [...] Zero to forty-five miles per hour in two point five seconds. From a point of rest. From sitting perfectly still. [...] And once the cheetah got going – top speed, between sixty and seventy miles per hour – it could cover almost one hundred feet per second."

The cheetah is the fastest land animal on Earth. It was acquired by Rachel, Cassie, Marco and Ax, as well as some of the morph-capable Controllers.


"The Gardens just got three cheetahs as part of their new breeding program. You know, they're almost extinct."

In The Weakness, set in 1999,[1] The Gardens obtained three Southern African cheetahs[2] as part of a population conservation effort. The cheetahs were then acquired by Rachel, Cassie, Marco and Ax, specifically to use in an assassination mission on Visser Three.[3]

By The Sacrifice, set in 2000, several morph-capable human-Controllers also acquired cheetahs to use as battle morphs.[4]


Assassination Attempt[]

The Weakness Illustration

Rachel, Cassie, Marco and Ax in cheetah morphs, preparing to kill Visser Three

"Why cheetahs?"
"Speed. You want to grab the visser quickly, before his guards can react. You want to outrun him in an open space. And pretty much nothing outruns a cheetah."
Rachel and Cassie[src]

In The Weakness, set in 1999,[1] Rachel, Cassie, Marco and Ax used cheetah morphs in an attempt to assassinate Visser Three, whose private feeding ground Tobias had discovered. Although their speed allowed them to get a few hits in, their endurance was limited and they found themselves quickly tired. As a result, they were nearly killed when the Visser was reinforced by the Garatron, a speedster Controller, who opted to spare the Animorphs, citing that it was Visser Three's personal responsibility to do so.[3]

Battle Morph[]

Used by Ax[]

"This appendage works well to balance the cheetah when it runs, but it is useless as a weapon."
"You’ll have to settle for teeth and claws, Ax-man. Too many people. We don’t need your blue-furred, four-eyed self on the cover of the
National Enquirer."
Ax and Jake[src]

In The Unexpected, set in January 2000,[5] the Animorphs attacked a public airport to prevent the Yeerks from destroying a Bug fighter that the U.S. government had obtained. Due to the sheer number of civilians and other uninfested humans present at the airport, Jake ordered Ax to use his cheetah morph as a battle morph. Ax, whose combat proficiency was primarily in tail-fighting, remarked that the cheetah's tail was useless as a weapon, to which Jake replied that he would have to adjust and use the cheetah's teeth and claws to fight.[6]

Used by the Yeerks[]

"The first human-Controller morphed to rhino. Another morphed to polar bear. Another to cheetah."

Later on in 2000, the Yeerks successfully acquired the Escafil Device[7] and obtained the power to morph. A few morph-capable human-Controllers acquired cheetahs to use as battle morphs. One of them fought the Animorphs in The Sacrifice, although he was subdued by Timmy and Collette and subsequently killed by National Guard troops. Moments later, when the Animorphs used explosives to destroy the California Yeerk pool, several morph-capable Controllers morphed into cheetahs in order to flee from the blast radius.[4]

Used by Marco[]

"Marco in cheetah morph and Ax fought most logically. They each understood that a mere wound was enough, as long as live Taxxons were left undamaged to take care of the finishing off. Marco would accelerate to forty mph, dig his less-than-deadly claws into a victim, leave bloody scratches behind, and prance away far too quickly for a Taxxon to respond."

Shortly after the destruction of the California Yeerk pool, the Yeerk Empire ordered a vast amount of Taxxons to begin construction of a new pool. In order to halt their progress, the Animorphs launched a mission to kill the Taxxons on location. Rather than morph into his usual gorilla morph to fight every single Taxxon in his path, Marco chose a different strategy; he morphed into the cheetah and used its speed to run towards a group of Taxxons and then swiped at them with his claws, wounding them. This caused the remaining Taxxons to redirect their focus from the other Animorphs onto their bleeding comrades, with Marco using the cheetah's speed to flee from the immediate vicinity. Using this tactic alongside Ax, albeit the latter using his tail in his base Andalite form, the Animorphs were able to make quick work of the Taxxons and succeeded in halting construction of the new pool.[8]


Known Morphers[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Weakness is Book 38. Books 34-43 are set in 1999. Marco mentions Star Wars Episode I in #34, which released in May 1999, while #44 is explicitly set in January 2000.
  2. Subspecies determined by the artwork
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Weakness
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Sacrifice
  5. In #44: The Unexpected, Cassie finds herself in Australia, where she is told that it is the very middle of Australian summer at the moment. As Australian summer lasts from December-February, this places the book's events in January.
  6. The Unexpected
  7. The Ultimate
  8. The Answer