What are the Fastest Animals Alive?

Some animals are naturally built as mega-speed machines. Be it the Cheetah running miles in a second, or Sail Fish swimming at a flashy speed amidst the water, there are many animals, with speeds that can give fair competition to humans and powerful sports cars. Let’s dig deep into some of the fastest animals alive, that will leave your jaw open, with their ultra-swift speeds! 

  1. Peregrine Falcon 

Peregrine Falcon is not only the fastest bird but the fastest animal on this planet earth. When Falcon dives to capture its prey, it is called a ‘stoop’. During this hunting dive, Falcon soars to a great height and then dives steeply at the fastest speed of over 332 kph (200 mph). It can also reach the horizontal cruising speed of over 90 kph (56 mph). 

  1. Golden Eagle 

The Golden Eagle is one of the largest raptors in North America. When preying with their trademark golden feathers, Golden Eagles dive with a speed of 150 mph and can reach the top speed of 200 mph. Making use of their massive talons, Golden Eagles are even known to tear down livestock and deer.  

  1. White Throated Needletail

For many years, White Throated Needletail (also known as Spine-tailed Swift), was considered the fastest bird in a straight line by the scientists. Its top recorded speed is 106 mph or 171 kph. These birds feed themselves amidst the air, catching insects during their breaks. 

  1. Frigate Bird

With a weight of 1.5 kg, the Frigate bird’s top speed is 153 kph (95 mph). Partially, the reason for Frigate’s fast speed is its wingspan to body ratio, which is the largest among all the birds. These birds are also able to stay aloft for more than a week. Because of their swiftness, Frigate Birds are also called Pirate birds or Man of War birds. 

  1. Gyrfalcon

The fierce, large and stocky Gyrfalcon is the largest falcon in the world. They usually hunt in the open, and swiftly swoop down over their prey (birds) from above. They also follow their prey from behind, and low to the ground. Gyrfalcons fly at a speed of 90 mph (145 k my) in a level flight and when stopping, the speed maximizes to 150 mph (241 km/h). 

While cats may not be on this list, you still have to take care of the little cuties, and for that purpose, you must take a look at these quick tips for maintaining your cat’s litter box

  1. Spur-Winged Goose

Spur-Winged Goose has a body length of 1 meter, and a weight of 6 kg. It’s known as Africa’s largest waterfowl and the world’s largest goose, with a top speed of 142kph (88mph). However, because of the threat, Sour-winged Goose poses to the crops, it is hunted down by farmers in most parts of the world. 

  1. Red-breasted Merganser

With a distinctive head of spiky feathers, the Red-breasted Merganser can fly as fast as 81 mph (130 km/h), but when hitting the skies, it needs a little bit of assistance. According to the reports of Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Red-breasted Merganser must have a running start, to get airborne. Their anatomy helps while diving, but the legs that are situated near their rear make it harder for them to walk. 

  1. Cheetah

As the fastest land animal, the Cheetah is capable of reaching speeds, up to 70 miles per hour. While the top speed of the Cheetah ranges from 65 to 75 kph, its average speed is only 40 mph (64 km/hr), punctuated by short bursts of fast speed. 

Attaining a high acceleration, a Cheetah can reach a speed of 47 mph in two seconds, or go from 0 to 60 mph in a span of three strides and three seconds. It accelerates as fast as one of the world’s top sports cars. 

Read more about how fast do the fastest cars go in auto racing? 

  1. Sail Fish 

Speeding through the water at 110kph (68mph), Sail Fish is easily the world’s fastest fish. It is a fast leaper and swims through short distances so quickly. However, its speed may vary from specie to specie, making one the fastest and the other an average-speed fish in the ocean! 

  1. Pronghorn Antelope
Pronghorn Antelope, Cabin Lake Road, Fort Rock, Oregon

Being the fastest land animal in Western Hemisphere, Pronghorn Antelope moves at a speed of 98 kph (60 mph). Because of its exceptionally fast speed, Pronghorn Antelope can even out-sprint its predators. Its top speed varies – some cited it as 70 km/h, while others as 86 km/h. It is also cited as the second fastest land animal, leaving only Cheetah behind. However, it can sustain higher speeds than a Cheetah. 

  1. Marlin

Marlin has an elongated body that weighs 2000 lbs / 900 kgs and a rigid dorsal fin, extending forward to form a crest. Marlin is also an exceptionally fast fish and can swim at 80 kph (50 mph). If it wasn’t for Sail Fish, Marlin would’ve been the World’s fastest fish. Generally, the average speed of Marlin is 50 mph/ 80 kph and can reach up to the top speed of 68 mph / 110 kph. 

  1. Wildebeest

If you’ve seen a wildlife documentary, you must’ve witnessed the glory of Wildebeest, when it’s crossing rivers, such as the Mara River. However, many of them also die while trying to reach the other side of the river, as they get eaten by the crocodiles. Wildebeest have a maximum speed of around 50 mph (80 kph), which almost matches the top speed of a lion. 

  1. Lynx
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A Lynx is a wild cat of medium size, that lives in Russia, North America, and parts of Asia and Europe. The top speed of a Lynx is 50 mph. It mostly uses its speed for hunting purposes and lives in high-altitude forests with lots of thick covers. Lynx can successfully prey on any animal, that is capable of killing, and its fast speed helps in doing so. 

  1. Lion
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Lions hunt in the form of groups and then stalk their chosen prey. As the most powerful animal, lions are known for their stamina. For instance, a male lion’s heart makes up only 0.45 percent of his body weight, and in the case of a lioness, it’s only 0.57 percent. 

Although lionesses can attain a maximum speed of 50 mph (81 km/h), they can only maintain it for short bursts. Therefore, they have to be close to their prey before the attack.

A lion can also reach the maximum speed of 50 mph (81 km/h) and use it for hunting. These are mostly found in small areas of Africa and Asia. Their habitats are grassy plains and savannahs. 

  1. Brown Hare

Known for its long black-tipped ears and fast running, Brown Hare can reach a maximum speed of 48 mph. When evading predators, Brown Hare runs almost at the same speed as its predator, the red fox, because of its long legs. It is often spotted in fields and prefers a mosaic of woodland habitats and farmland. 

Stepping Out of the Animal Land… 

There are almost uncountable animals in the world, each with its specific features, including different speeds or body types. Cheetah may win a race on the land but, it might get defeated by the Peregrin Falcon in the sky, or Sail Fish amidst the water waves. Some of them can easily outrun a human or a powerful sports car. Many animals are still not discovered by the Researchers, and who knows, maybe an anonymous fish deep down an ocean may beat the Sail Fish in a matter of minutes!