Fastest Animals in the World

Of the world’s fastest animals, a few run on land, some can be seen in the sky, and certain species can be seen swimming in water. Speed is one of the essential survival strategies for animals to protect themselves from predators and get hold of their prey to meet their dietary requirements. The word ‘fast’ and ‘cheetah’ are synonymous, yet when it comes to the fastest animals, most flying animals (birds in particular) surpass them. However, it is unbeatable on land, racing at speeds as much as 70 mph.

Fastest Animals in the World

15 Fastest Animals in the World

1. Peregrine Falcon242 mphFlight-divingIt’s the fastest in the animal kingdom, and the fastest flying animal. 
2. Golden Eagle150-200 mphFlight-divingIts speed is the highest when hunting for prey.
3. White-Throated Needletail Swift105 mphFlightThey are large and the fastest in flapping flight.
4. Eurasian Hobby100 mphFlightThey are extremely fast when making a diving motion. Though small and slender, they may sometimes fly faster than the swift while hunting.
5. Mexican Free-tailed Bat99 mphFlightIt’s the world’s fastest mammal. These bats fly to a height of around 10,000 feet.
6. Frigatebird95 mphFlightThe frigatebird has the highest wing to body weight ratio contributing to their high speed.
7. Rock Dove92.5 mphFlightThey follow a steady path while flying.
8. Spur-winged Goose88 mphFlightThe spurs on their wings (as their name suggests) make these geese fly fast.
9. Gyrafalcon80 mphFlightIt is the fastest bird in the world when it comes to level flight (maintaining a consistent height when flying above the ground with the help of feathers and muscles)  
10. Grey-headed Albatross 79 mphFlightTheir high speed in flight helps them circumnavigate the world in a month.
11. Cheetah65-75 mphLandThe cheetah’s long neck, long legs, and small head give it the required speed needed for running. Despite being fast runners, most run for not more than 60 seconds at a go.
12. Sailfish67.85 mphMarineTheir bodies look like torpedoes as they fold their fins back and proceed toward their prey at top speed.
13. Anna’s Hummingbird61.06 mphFlightThey are the world’s fastest hummingbirds.
14. Swordfish60 mphMarineTheir sword-like bills and fin-pumping muscles give them their increased speed.
15. Ostrich50-56 mphFlightThey are the fastest land bird and the fastest animal running on both legs.

A Detailed List of the Fastest Animals on Earth

Fastest Mammals

1. Mexican Free-tailed Bat99 mph
2. Cheetah65-75 mph
3. Pronghorn50-60 mphIt is the second fastest land animal and the fastest to cover long distances. The pronghorn is also North America’s fastest land animal. Under suitable conditions, they cover a maximum speed of 60 mph.
4. Springbok55 mph Known for its jumping ability, it can leap up to more than 10 feet.
5. Domestic Horse55 mph
6. Common Tsessebe45-55 mphThey are one of the fastest antelopes.
7. Impala45-55 mphThe impala is intelligent enough while competing with high-speed animals like the cheetah. It sometimes slows down and even changes its speed to confuse its predators.
8. Grant’s Gazelle50 mph
9. Hartebeest50 mphThey have long legs and a sloping back that add to their speed. They run the fastest when defending themselves from their prey.
10. Blackbuck50 mphThe blackbucks are fast runners and excellent jumpers capable of crossing tall fences with ease.
11. Thomson’s Gazelle40 mphSmall and graceful, these gazelles can energetically jump up and down when threatened by big cats and other predators.
12. Wildebeest40 mphThe wildebeest are heavy on the frontal end, but their hindquarters appear slender, and their legs are long and thin. This helps them run quickly.    
13. Lion35-50 mphThey pick up speed for a short burst. Thus lions need to attack their prey from close proximity lest they may get exhausted fast.
14. Hare35-50 mphHares have large, long hind legs that assist them in running fast.
15. Jackrabbit36-45 mphThey can leap to a maximum height of 6m. Their high jumps and zigzag motion help them escape their predators.
16. African Wild Dog37-44 mphWhen hunting, they can sprint at a maximum speed of 41 mph.
17. Kangaroo31-44 mphThey can hop to a maximum speed of 16 mph but may reach up to 44 mph over a short distance.
18. Onager37-43 mphThe onagers have short legs but can gain their balance quickly and begin running in no time.
19. Zebra35-43 mphBesides their fast running abilities, zebras, are known for their powerful kick capable of injuring their predators.
20. Eland34-43 mphAdult elands can jump to a height of around 8 feet from a standing position when startled.
21. Coyote37-40 mphMost coyotes run faster than dogs.
22. Big Brown Bat35-40 mphThey use the echolocation technique when they fly by emitting a sound wave. This helps them steer clear of all obstacles that come their way during flight.
23. Tiger35-40 mphThey cannot hold their speed for long, just like the lion and cheetah.
24. Giraffe32-37 mphTheir long, muscular legs help them run faster when on land.
25. Hyena31-37 mphThe hyena showcases its speed while chasing its prey.
26. African Buffalo31-35 mphThey can run at a maximum speed of 37 miles per hour.
27. Brown Bear and American Black Bear30-35 mphBoth the bears are quick on their forelegs which helps them acquire great speed.
28. Warthog30-34 mphThey are fast and can go at top speed when threatened or alarmed.
29. Wombat25 mphThese marsupials may appear stocky but are extremely fast on their feet.
30. Killer Whale34.8 mphThey are the second fastest sea mammal after the common dolphin.
31. Common Dolphin34-40 mphThey are the fastest among marine mammals. When they are at their maximum speed, the dolphins take extremely short breaths.

Fastest Birds

1. Peregrine Falcon242 mph
2. Saker Falcon200 mphWhen in flight, they may swoop down suddenly to get at their prey.
3. Golden Eagle150-200 mph
4. White-throated Needletail Swift105 mph
5. Eurasian Hobby100 mph
6. Frigatebird95 mph
7. Rock Dove92.5 mph
8. Spur-winged Goose88 mph
9. Red-breasted Merganser80 mphThey are the fastest ducks and were recorded to fly at 100 mph upon being pursued by an airplane.
10. Gyrfalcon80 mph
11. Grey-headed Albatross79 mph
12. Anna’s Humming bird61.06 mph
13. Ostrich (Land)50-56 mph
14. Cassowary  (Land)31 mphThey have powerful legs that help them jump to a height of about 7 feet in the air.
15. Emu (Land)28-30 mphEmus are the only birds with calf muscles that make them quick runners.
16. Roadrunner (Land/ Air)20-27 mphThey aren’t excellent fliers but good runners on the ground because of their long and slender legs.

Fastest Fish

1. Black Marlin82 mphThey are the fastest swimmers traveling at a maximum speed of 80 mph.
2. Sailfish67.85 mph
3. Swordfish60 mph
4. Yellowfin Tuna47 mphThe Yellowfin tuna is a fast swimmer attaining a maximum speed of 50 mph.
5. Shortfin Mako Shark45 mphThe small tooth-like scales on their body called dermal denticles make them hardy and strong, responsible for their speed.

Fastest Amphibians

1. Nauta Salamander15 mphIt is the fastest of all amphibians.

Fastest Reptiles

1. Perentie25 mphThey can run either using all four legs or simply with their hind legs.
2. Green Iguana22 mphThese small lizards weighing not more than 8lbs but surprisingly has an increasingly high speed of as much as 21 mph.
3. Leatherback Sea Turtle21.92 mphThey are the fastest and the largest turtle.
4. Costa Rican Spiny-tailed Iguana21.5 mph
5. Six-lined Racerunner18 mphThese lizards stand out because of their lightning speed. They rarely climb and mostly remain on the ground.
6. Black Mamba14 mphThese highly venomous snakes standout for their fast, slithering motion.
7. Komodo Dragon13 mphThey are fast but cannot hold it for long.

Fastest Invertebrates

1. Horsefly90 mphThey are the fastest flying insects, with the males attaining a maximum speed of 90 mph while seeking a female to mate.
2. Pencil Squids22 mphThe torpedo-shaped bodies of squids of this family help them swim quickly.

Quick Facts

Fastest Land Animals: Cheetah, Pronghorn, Springbok

Fastest Flying Animals: Peregrine Falcon, Golden Eagle, White-throated Needletail Swift

Fastest Sea/Ocean Animals: Black Marlin, Sailfish, Swordfish