Top 10: Fastest Land Animals In The World

Speed can be a matter of death or survival in the natural world. The fastest land animals in the world listed below are all either prey or predators, and it’s their speed that gives them the edge in the wild.

There are different ways to rank the speed of fast animals. Some lists look at speed compared to body length or acceleration, which results in insects and snakes being included as some of the fastest land animals.

Meanwhile, the top 10 fastest land animals in this content is simply rank by the top recorded speed of a species covered by the longest distance in a shorter time. The top 10 fastest land animals are described below.

Fastest Land Animals In The World

10. Ostrich (70 km/h)


This will be the only animal on our list with two legs! Ostriches can’t fly, but no birds can match their speed on land. Ostriches are the fastest running birds in the world! Scientists have seen ostriches run continuously at speeds of 30-37 mph and sprint up to 43 mph.

With their long, strong legs ostriches can cover more than 10 feet in a single stride and their light frame makes them very efficient at using energy.

9. Quarter Horse (71 km/h)

Quarter Horse

Quarter Horses are the fastest horse breed over a short distance (¼ mile). They reach speeds of over 50 mph (80 km/h), with the fastest ever recorded at 55 mph.

8. Greyhound (72 km/h)


Greyhounds are the fastest breed of domesticated dog, having been bred by humans for coursing game and racing. Greyhounds are also popular as family pets. Racing greyhounds can attain maximum speeds of 46 mph (74 km/h). They also have incredible powers of acceleration over short distances—only cheetahs and pronghorns have them beat.

7. Hare( 56 – 80 km/h)


Hares have long, powerful hind legs that help them reach speeds of up to 80 km per hour to evade predators in their grassland habitats.

Similar in form to common rabbits, hares have longer ears and live solitarily or in pairs above ground, hence the need for their speed.

6. Blackbuck (80 km/h)


The blackbuck (aka the Indian antelope) is found across southern Asia in India, Nepal, and Pakistan.

They are able to maintain their top speed of 80 km per hour for over 1.5 km, helped by their huge strides of 6.5 meters.

Because of the male’s impressive horns, blackbuck are sadly popular trophy animals for hunters.

5. Lion (80 km/h)


Lions, the second-fastest big cats after cheetahs, are capable of moving at up to 50 mph (80.5 km/h) in short bursts. They quickly become exhausted, however, so they typically sneak up as close as possible to their prey before launching an attack.

4. Wildebeest (80 km/h)


The wildebeest, like the pronghorn, is another exceptional runner with endurance. There are two species—the black wildebeest and the blue wildebeest—and both are exceptionally fast, especially over long distances.

These southern African antelopes, also known as gnus, need their speed to help them escape from dangerous predators, such as lions, cheetahs, hyenas, leopards, and crocodiles. They can reach a maximum speed of around 50 miles per hour (80.5 km/h) when running.

3. Springbok (88 km/h)


The springbok is a smallish gazelle that lives in herds across southern Africa.

Aside from their speed – which they can maintain only for short distances – they have a special skill.

Their 3-meter high bounce-like jumps coupled with sharp turns whilst running at pace enable them to shake off chasing predators.

2. Pronghorn (98 km/h)


It makes sense for a hunter to have the ability to run as quickly as a cheetah. In an effort to outcompete one another, predators and prey engage in an evolutionary arms race. As a result, the second-fastest animal ever observed is one that frequently needs to flee swiftly.

Pronghorns, also known as American antelopes, are not only capable of running very fast but also for a very long time. Because of their unique adaptations for high oxygen consumption, they make excellent long-distance runners. For a minimum of 11km (7 miles), they can maintain a 65kph (40mph) speed!

1. Cheetah (109.4–120.7 km/h)

sprinting cheetah

The cheetah is the fastest land animal, at least over short distances, capable of running at speeds between 50 and 80 mph. This big cat not only has a high peak speed, but also a fantastic rate of acceleration. Cheetahs have a 0 to 60 mph (96.6 to 96.6 km/h) acceleration time of less than three seconds.

But the cheetah’s stamina is limited. It only normally lasts for a minute or so and runs in brief bursts. Interestingly, a cheetah at full speed actually spends more of its time in the air than on the ground.

Cheetah’s lifespan is 10 to 15 years. The food of the cheetah is hoofed animals, and the predators of the cheetah are lions and eagles. Its habitat is Africa and Asia.

Interesting Fact: Those black tear lines on either side of a cheetah’s nose function like a football player’s black face paint, keeping the sun out of the big cat’s eyes while they hunt.

Final Thoughts

These are the world’s fastest land animals, according to our research and verification. Does this guarantee that they are among the ten fastest animals? Not really.

Running speed measurement is quite difficult.

First of all, animals won’t spend all of their energy running, unless something is extremely important and the likelihood that someone will be around to measure it at that precise moment is low. So, it is reasonable to conclude that most of these high speeds can be increased.

But, you have to consider the fact that some people fabricate information online, which, tragically, accounts for a large portion of the top speeds given on websites without any supporting documentation. This does make things a little murkier, as does the fact that miles and kilometers can occasionally be mixed up, leading to unreliable reports.

In the end, if you want to know the truth, always find out where a claim comes from. Verify your references and trace them back to the first assertion. Oftentimes, you’ll find it was retrieved from within the lower backend of an anonymous blogger and can be safely dismissed.

All the listed animals above have a reference at the end of their description to a paper where their speed been recorded and verified, which you can also find below.


Carwardine, Mark (2008). Animal Records. New York: Sterling. pp. 11, 43. ISBN 9781402756238.

Nowak, Ronald M. (7 April 1999). Walker’s Mammals of the World. JHU Press. p. 1193. ISBN 9780801857898.

Knight, Kathryn (15 July 2012). “How Cheetahs Outpace Greyhounds”. The Journal of Experimental Biology. 215 (14): i–i. ISSN 0022-0949. doi:10.1242/jeb.075788

Vaughan, Terry; Ryan, James; Czaplewski, Nicholas (21 April 2011). Mammalogy. Jones & Bartlett Learning. ISBN 9780763762995.

N. C. C. Sharp (2009), “Timed running speed of a cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)“, ZSL.

Stan L. Lindstedt, James F. Hokanson, Dominic J. Wells, Steven D. Swain, Hans Hoppeler & Vilma Navarro (1991), “Running energetics in the pronghorn antelope“,

Yoram Yom-Tov (1995), “Dorcas Gazelles“, American Society of Mammalogists.

David Poole (2011), “Highly Athletic Terrestrial Mammals: Horses and Dogs“, Research Gate.

ABOURACHID, A., & RENOUS, S. (2008), “Bipedal locomotion in ratites (Paleognatiform): examples of cursorial birds“, Sci Hub.

Usherwood, J. R., & Wilson, A. M. (2005), “No force limit on greyhound sprint speed“, Sci Hub.

Roy V Rea (2010), “INSIGHTS INTO MOOSE-TRAIN INTERACTIONS“, A Journal Devoted to the Biology and Management of Moose.

John P. Elliott (1976), “Prey capture by the African lion“, Department of Zoology University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

John P. Elliott (1976), “Prey capture by the African lion“, Department of Zoology University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

John P. Elliott (1976), “Prey capture by the African lion“, Department of Zoology University of British Columbia, Vancouver.


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