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Our look is the result of reader comments, our own experimentation, and feedback from distribution channels. Distinctive covers complement our distinctive approach to technical topics, breathing personality and life into potentially dry subjects.

The animal on the cover of Programming the Perl DBI is a cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), one of the oldest big cats, dating back four million years.

The cheetah is the fastest land animal in the world, reaching speeds up to 70 miles per hour, powered by its long legs and lean body. Its body is tan with black spots, and, at a distance, it's hard to tell males from females. A cheetah grows to be approximately two and a half feet tall at the shoulder; it measures around four feet long, with a tail about two feet long. An adult weighs 90-130 pounds. The life span of the cheetah is about ten years.

A mother cheetah's litter includes four to five cubs, who stay with their mother for a year and a half. The young learn hunting and survival skills in that time. The cheetah hunts by stalking and chasing its prey, which includes antelope, gazelles, rabbits, and game birds.

The cheetah is now considered to be an endangered species, with only 10,000-12,000 alive today, living almost exclusively in the grasslands of Africa. That number is much lower than the estimated 100,000 in 1900. In fact, it is extinct in more than twenty of the countries it originally inhabited. The cheetah suffers from loss of both habitat and food, plus poaching. Conservation groups are working to help preserve the cheetah in its natural habitat and keep it from extinction.

Nicole Arigo was the production editor and copyeditor for this book . Madeleine Newell proofread the book. Melanie Wang, Sarah Jane Shangraw, and Jane Ellin provided quality control. Judy Hoer wrote the index.

Hanna Dyer designed the cover of this book, based on a series design by Edie Freedman. The cover image is a 19th-century engraving from the Dover Pictorial Archive. Kathleen Wilson produced the cover layout with QuarkXPress 4.04 using Adobe's ITC Garamond font. Alicia Cech designed the interior layout based on a series design by Nancy Priest. Mike Sierra implemented the design in FrameMaker 5.5. The text and heading fonts are ITC Garamond Light and Garamond Book. The illustrations that appear in the book were produced by Robert Romano using Macromedia FreeHand 8 and Adobe Photoshop 5. This colophon was written by Nicole Arigo.

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