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Turns out cheetahs can't roar, and we're shocked by their actual sound

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You might have imagined that cheetahs communicate with mighty roars, but the sound they actually make is very unexpected (in fact, it's kind of cute).

They're as dangerous as their tiger, lion and jaguar cousins, however cheetahs are actually incapable of making the same almighty roar sound.

According to BBC's Discover Wildlife, the size of a cat doesn't equate to the sound of their roar, and cheetahs - while very large and strong - have the voice box anatomy similar to a house cat.

"The bones of the cheetah's voice box form a fixed structure, with divided vocal cords that vibrate with both in and out breaths. This structure is the same for all the 'small' cats. While this design enables these cats to purr continuously, it limits the range of other sounds and prevents them from being able to roar."

Instead, the fast feline communicates with a rather unexpected high-pitched chirp or a puss-in-boots-style meow. 

Researchers have also learnt that male cheetahs make a 'stuttering sound' during the mating season.

When a cheetah feels threatened, they'll hiss. If they feel really threatened, they'll growl and show their teeth.

If the spotted cat wants to signal a warning, it will let out an explosive yelp which can be heard from 2km away. 

Naturally, the news that this spectacular big cat can't roar is surprising to most, with one Twitter user posting, "I was today years old when I learned Cheetahs meow." Another user confessed, "it's the best thing I've seen all day."

Image Credit: Tambako The Jaguar / Flickr & Cloudtail the Snow Leopard / Flickr