Top 12: Fastest Animals In The World

There are creatures in the animal kingdom that can run at speeds that will make you bewildered. The speed has the ability to decide life and death. Predators use it to overtake and overpower their prey, while other animals with few other protections rely on speed to stay alive.

Some of these fly through the air, others run on land and some swim in water. The word ‘fast’ and ‘cheetah’ are sometimes used synonymously, yet when it comes to the fastest animals, most flying animals (birds in particular) outpace them in terms of speed. However, it is unbeatable on land, racing at speeds as much as 70 mph. Here are the breakdown of the top 12 fastest animals in the world.

Fastest Animals On Planet Earth

12. Sailfish – 109.19 km/h (67.85 mph)

They’re known to fold their fins back completely, their bodies resembling a torpedo as they dash toward their targets at speeds of up to 68 miles per hour which makes them the number one fastest animals in the water world.

11. Cheetah – 109.4–120.7 km/h (68.0–75.0 mph)

acceleration cheetah

The cheetah is the fastest land animal. This big cat holds the record for the quickest creature on solid earth. It is lithe and muscular with intractable claws which help provide traction.

A cheetah can accelerate from 0 to 96.6 km/h (60.0 mph) in under three seconds, though endurance is limited. The big cat’s body is quite literally built for speed – with long legs, a long neck and a petite head. They move through space with incredible agility, but can only keep up their speed for a short distance.

10. Grey-Headed Albatross – 127 km/h (79 mph)

Grey-headed Albatross- 79 mph. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Grey-headed Albatross is likely the world’s fastest horizontal flyer. The grey-headed albatross is unique on this list. This bird spends almost its entire life at sea, sometimes roaming more than 8,000 miles in search of food.

9. Gyrfalcon – 128 km/h (80 mph)

The gyrfalcon is the world’s fastest bird in level flight  with an average speed of 128 km/h (80 mph). These powerful birds may initially be underestimated, but their strength becomes evident after a few seconds in the air.

8. Spur-Winged Goose – 142 km/h (88 mph)

The fastest-flying species of goose is the spur-winged goose Plectropterus gambensis. Native to wetlands throughout sub-Saharan Africa, this distinctive waterfowl has a maximum recorded speed of 142 km per hour.

7. Rock Dove – 148.9 km/h (92.5 mph)

The Rock Dove has been clocked flying at an average speed of 92.5 mph (148.9 kmh) during a 400-mile (640 km) race. Over longer distances, their speeds are still impressive, able to cruise at roughly 60 mph for 600 miles straight

6. Frigate Bird – 153 km/h (95 mph)

The frigatebird has the highest wing to body weight ratio contributing to their high speed

5. Mexican Free-Tailed Bat — 160 km/h (100 mph)

A recent and controversial addition to the Fast Animal Hall of Fame is the Mexican free-tailed bat, aka the Brazilian free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis). Found in North and South America, the Mexican free-tailed bat is the official flying mammal of Texas.

4. Eurasian Hobby – 160 km/h (100 mph)

hobby bird uk

Essentially the Old World Peregrine Falcon, the Eurasian Hobby is yet another freakishly fast falcon. Not only can they achieve speeds of 100 mph in a dive, but they can maneuver so well that males can pass food to females mid-flight as a part of the courtship display.

3. White-throated Needletail – 169 km/h (105 mph)

White-throated Needletail

The White Throated Needletail (also known as the Spine Tailed Swift) also known as Needle-tailed Swift or Spine-tailed Swift, is a large swift. It is the fastest-flying bird in flapping flight, with confirmed speeds reaching 169 km/h (105 mph)

2. Golden Eagle – 240–320 km/h (150–200 mph)

The second fastest animal on earth is the golden eagle who can reach speeds of 150-200 mph in a similar dive as the peregrine. The golden eagle is several time larger and stronger than the peregrine. In fact, these eagles can even take small deer as prey. Golden eagles are found in the western half of the United States as well as on other continents like Africa, Europe, and Asia.

1. Peregrine Falcon 389 km/h (242 mph)

peregrine falcon diving up

The peregrine falcon is best known for its diving speed during flight—which can reach more than 300 km (186 miles) per hour—making it not only the world’s fastest bird but also the world’s fastest animal. Coloration is a bluish gray above, with black bars on the white to yellowish white underparts.

Barve asserted that due to the ground’s resistance, you cannot run as fast as you can fly from a physics perspective. Because of this, many of the fastest animals are birds.

Technically, the peregrine falcon is the fastest, but because of its shape and gravity, its movement cannot be considered to be “flying.”


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