Fastest animals

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This is a list of the fastest animals in the world, grouped by types of animal.

Fastest animal[edit]

The fastest land animal is the Cheetah which has a recorded speed of 96–120 km/h (60–75 mph).[1] The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest bird, and the fastest member of the animal kingdom with a speed of 389 km/h (242 mph).[2] The fastest animal in the sea is the Black marlin, which has a recorded speed of 130 km/h (80 mph).[3]

While comparing between various classes of animals, a different unit is used, body length per second. The fastest animal on earth, relative to body length, is the South Californian mite Paratarsotomus macropalpis, which has a speed of 322 body lengths per second.[4] The equivalent speed for a human running as fast as this mite would be 1,300 mph (2,092 km/h).[5]

This is far in excess of the previous record holder, the Australian tiger beetle Cicindela eburneola, the fastest insect in the world relative to body size, which has been recorded at 1.86 metres per second (4.2 mph) or 171 body lengths per second.[6] The cheetah, the fastest land mammal, scores at only 16 body lengths per second.[4]


AnimalMaximum speedNotes
Cheetah112–120 km/h (70–75 mph)[a]The Cheetah can accelerate from 0 to 96.6 km/h (60.0 mph) in under three seconds, though endurance is limited: most Cheetahs run for only 60 seconds at a time.[1] When sprinting, cheetahs spend more time in the air than on the ground.[12]
Horse700170760000000000070.76 km/h (43.97 mph)[13]The fastest horse speed was achieved by a Quarter horse. It reached 70.76 km/h (43.97 mph).
Free-tailed bat
(in flight)
700196600000000000096.6 km/h (60.0 mph)[b]Some attribute such flying capabilities specifically to the Mexican free-tailed bat.[15] Tail wind is what allows free-tailed bats to reach such high speeds.[16]
Pronghorn700188500000000000088.5 km/h (55.0 mph)[c]The Pronghorn (American Antelope) is the fastest animal over long distances; it can run 56 km/h for 6 km (35 mph for 4 mi), 67 km/h for 1.6 km (42 mph for 1 mi), and 88.5 km/h for .8 km (55 mph for .5 mi).[1]
Springbok700188000000000000088 km/h (55 mph)[21][22]The springbok, an antelope of the gazelle tribe in southern Africa,[22] can make long jumps and sharp turns while running. Unlike pronghorns, springboks are poor long-distance runners.[1]
Wildebeest700180500000000000080.5 km/h (50.0 mph)[d]The wildebeest, an antelope, exists as two species: the blue wildebeest and the black wildebeest. Both are extremely fast runners, which allows them to flee from predators.[25] They are better at endurance running than at sprinting.[24]
Blackbuck700180000000000000080 km/h (50 mph)[21][26]The blackbuck antelope can sustain speeds of 80 km/h (50 mph) for over 1.5 km (0.93 mi) at a time.[26] Each of its strides (i.e., the distance between its hoofprints) is 5.8–6.7 m (19–22 ft).[21]
Lion700150000000000000080 km/h (50 mph)Lionesses are faster than males and can reach maximum speeds of 35 mph (57 km/h)[27] in short distances of approximately 90 meters, and a top speed of 50 mph (80 km/h) for about 20 meters. Lions are very agile and have fast reflexes. Like other predators, they hunt sick prey. Their rate of success in hunting is greatest at night. Lions hunt buffalos, giraffes, warthogs, wildebeests and zebras, and sometimes various antelopes as opportunities present themselves.
Greyhound700174000000000000074 km/h (46 mph)[e]Greyhounds are the fastest dogs, and have primarily been bred for coursing game and racing.
Jackrabbit700172000000000000072 km/h (45 mph)[f]The jackrabbit's strong hind legs allow it to leap 3 m (9.8 ft) in one bound; some can even reach 6 m (20 ft).[37] Jackrabbits use a combination of leaps and zig-zags to outrun predators.[31]
African wild dog700171000000000000071 km/h (44 mph)[g]When hunting, African wild dogs can sprint at 66 km/h (41 mph) in bursts, and they can maintain speeds of 56–60 km/h (35–37 mph) for up to 4.8 km (3 mi).[41][42] Their targeted prey rarely escapes.[39]
Kangaroo700171000000000000071 km/h (44 mph)[h]The comfortable hopping speed for a kangaroo is about 21–26 km/h (13–16 mph), but speeds of up to 71 km/h (44 mph) can be attained over short distances, while it can sustain a speed of 40 km/h (25 mph) for nearly 2 km (1.2 mi).[44] The faster a kangaroo hops, the less energy it consumes (up to its cruising speed).[43]
Onager700170000000000000070 km/h (43 mph)[i]The onager consists of several subspecies, which most likely share the same ability to run at high speeds.[47]
Thomson's gazelle700170000000000000070 km/h (43 mph)[j]Thomson's gazelles, being long-distance runners, can escape cheetahs by sheer endurance.[49] Their speed is partially due to their "stotting", or bounding leaps.[48]
Coyote700165000000000000065 km/h (40 mph)[k]Coyotes can easily reach 48 km/h (30 mph), and can sprint at 65 km/h (40 mph) when hunting.[51] Even when lacking a front foot, a coyote can still run at around 32 km/h (20 mph).[50]
Common Dolphin700165000000000000065 km/h (40 mph)[l]Common Dolphins are the fastest marine mammal. When reaching their top speed, they take very short breaths. As an example, Fin whales, which are much larger, can empty and refill their lungs in 2 seconds
Zebra700164000000000000064 km/h (40 mph)[m]Zebras have a home range anywhere between 11 and 232 sq mi (28 and 601 km2) and they can travel 10 mi (16 km) a day while grazing.[56]
Tiger700164000000000000064 km/h (40 mph)[n]Tigers are the largest species of big cat in the world. They live in jungles, and have been clocked going anywhere from 30 mph (48 km/h) to 40 mph (64 km/h), although only in short bursts.
Hyena700160000000000000060 km/h (37 mph)[o]The hyena can run up to 60 km/h (37 mph); some attribute this performance specifically to the spotted hyena.[60] They use their speed to chase their prey, sometimes traveling 15 mi (24 km) in a single chase.
Human700127790000000000044.72 km/h (27.79 mph)[61]Usain Bolt set the 100 m world record at 9.58 seconds, which is about 10.44 meters/second (23.35 mph, 37.58 km/h). His fastest speed during that sprint was 12.42 meters/second (27.79 mph, 44.72 km/h) during the 60 m to 80 m interval. Compared to other land animals, humans are exceptionally capable of endurance, but exceptionally incapable of great speed.
Elephant700125000000000000040 km/h (25 mph)[62]The biologist John Hutchinson attempted to set a record for elephant speed in 2002 by organizing a race with 42 elephants. The fastest one reached 15 mph (24 km/h) on average during the sprint, which was due to the fact that he weighed only 3 tons (well below the average weight of an African elephant). For short periods of time, speeds as high as 25 mph (40 km/h) were attained by the same elephant.[clarification needed]


AnimalMaximum recorded speedNotes
Peregrine Falcon389 km/h (242 mph)[2][63]The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest bird, and the fastest member of the animal kingdom. When in its hunting dive, the stoop, it soars to a great height, then dives steeply at speeds of over 200 mph. However, it does not hold first place when travelling in level flight.
White-throated Needletail169 km/h (105 mph)[64][65][66]The fastest-flying bird in flapping flight.
Eurasian Hobby160 km/h (100 mph)[67]It can sometimes even outfly birds such as the Swift when hunting.
Frigatebird153 km/h (95 mph)[68]

The frigatebird's high speed is helped by its having the largest wingspan to body weight ratio of any bird.

Anna's Hummingbird98.27 km/h (61.06 mph)[69]The stated speed equals 385 body lengths per second, the highest known length-specific velocity attained by any vertebrate.
Ostrich97 km/h (60 mph)[70]The ostrich is the tallest and heaviest species of all living birds. Although its bulky body means that flying is out of the question, the ostrich has adapted to life on the ground with impressive agility. Ostriches are superb runners that can sprint at speeds of up to 45 mph (72 km/h)[71] on average, with a peak 60 mph (97 km/h) during short periods, with 12 foot strides. This also makes the ostrich the fastest animal on two legs. The ostrich is also an endurance runner and can jog at 30 mph (48 km/h) for as long as half an hour.


AnimalMaximum recorded speedNotes
Bearded Dragon40 km/h (25 mph)[72]
Leatherback Sea Turtle35.28 km/h (21.92 mph)[73]Leatherback turtles have the most hydrodynamic body design of any sea turtle, with a large, teardrop-shaped body.
Six-lined Racerunner32 km/h (20 mph)[74]
Black Mamba23 km/h (14 mph)[75]


AnimalMaximum recorded speedNotes
Black marlin130 km/h (80 mph)[3]A hooked black marlin has been recorded stripping line off a fishing reel at 120 feet per second (82 mph).[3]
Sailfish109.19 km/h (67.85 mph)[76]In a series of tests carried out in a fishing cam at Long Key, Florida, USA, sailfish swam and leapt 91 meters in 3 seconds, equivalent to a speed of 109 km/h., although this speed includes leaps out of the water, which do not strictly qualify as swimming speed.[77]
Swordfish97 km/h (60 mph)[78]The 60 mph figure listed for the swordfish is based on a corrupted version of calculations made by Sir James Gray to estimate the impact speed necessary for a hypothetical 600-lb swordfish to embed its sword 3 feet in the timbers of ships, as has been known to occur; the figure seems to have entered the literature without question as though someone had actually timed a swordfish at that speed.[79]


AnimalMaximum recorded speedNotes
Horse-fly145.0 km/h (90.1 mph)[80]
Paratarsotomus macropalpis~22 cm/s or 800 m/h
(8.7 in/s or 0.51 mph)
0.7 mm long mite endemic to Southern California, tracked at running up to 322 body lengths per second, equivalent to a human running at around 2,100 km/h. It can stand temperatures of 60 °C, which are lethal to many animals.[5][81]
Tiger beetle6.8 km/h (4.2 mph)[6]The Australian tiger beetle Cicindela eburneola, is one of the fastest running insects in the world relative to body size, which has been recorded at 6.8 km/h (4.2 mph) or 171 body lengths per second.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Different sources cite different speeds; estimates include 96–120 km/h (60–75 mph),[1] 98 km/h (61 mph),[7] 100 km/h (62 mph),[8] 104 km/h (65 mph),[9] and 104.4 km/h (64.9 mph).[10][11] There is a tendency to overestimate the speed of fast animals, and claims of the cheetah running 114 km/h (71 mph) or faster have been discredited.[1][11]
  2. ^ Estimates include 95 km/h (59 mph)[14] and 96.6 km/h (60.0 mph).[15][16]
  3. ^ Estimates include "over 53 miles (86 kilometers) per hour",[17] 88.5 km/h (55.0 mph),[1][9] an "alleged top speed of 60 miles an hour [96.6 km/h]" (emphasis added),[18] 98 km/h (61 mph),[19] and "a top speed of about 100 km/hr [62 mph]" (emphasis added).[20]
  4. ^ Estimates include 70 km/h (43 mph) (specifically the black wildebeest),[23] "approximately 80 km/h or 50 mph",[24] and "over 50 miles per hour [80.5 km/h]" (specifically the blue wildebeest).[25]
  5. ^ Estimates include 67 km/h (42 mph),[28] 68.4 km/h (42.5 mph),[29] and 69 km/h (43 mph).[9]
  6. ^ Estimates include 64 km/h (40 mph),[30][31] 70 km/h (43 mph),[32]:237[33] and 72 km/h (45 mph) (some attribute this to the antelope jackrabbit,[14] others to the white-tailed jackrabbit,[34][35] and still others to jackrabbits in general.[36])
  7. ^ Estimates include 66 km/h (41 mph)[38] and 71 km/h (44 mph)[39][40]
  8. ^ Estimates include "more than 30 miles per hour (48 kilometers per hour)"[43] and 71 km/h (44 mph).[44]
  9. ^ Estimates include 64 km/h (40 mph),[45]:169 69 km/h (43 mph) (specifically for the kulan subspecies),[46] and 70 km/h (43 mph) (specifically for the Persian subspecies).[47]
  10. ^ Estimates include 64 km/h (40 mph)[48] and 70 km/h (43 mph).[49]
  11. ^ Estimates include 64 km/h (39.8 mph),[50] 64.4 km/h (40 mph),[51] and 65 km/h (40 mph)[52]:55
  12. ^ Estimates include 64 km/h (39.8 mph),[53]
  13. ^ Estimates include 35 mph (56 km/h)[54] and 40 mph (64 km/h) for both the Grévy's zebra and Burchell's zebra.[55][56]
  14. ^ Estimates include 40 mph (64 km/h)[57]
  15. ^ Estimates include 30 mph (48 km/h),[58] 25–31 mph (40–50 km/h) (specifically for the brown hyena)[59] and 37 mph (60 km/h)[45]:160[60]


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External links[edit]