Fastest Animal in the world on land and water

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Want to know which is the fastest animal in the world? Here’s the ultimate list of the world’s fastest animals on land as well as in the air and water. 

The 15 Fastest animals on land

There are several animals on land that can run around 50-60 km/h (30-37 mph), which is a lot faster than humans. Among these, you can find animals such as the coyote, bear, tiger, zebra, hyena, and deer just to mention a few. 

However, even if 50-60 km/h is definitely fast it’s not nearly enough to be crowned as the fastest animal in the world.

15. Horse

You probably already know that horses are quite fast. The fastest of them all is known as Winning Brew, and he’s an English Thoroughbred that has reached a top speed of 70,76 km/h.

Max speed: 70,76 km/h (44 mph)

häst

Photo: Shutterstock

14. Kangaroo

Kangaroos live in Australia and has become famous for its ability to do boxing and kickboxing. The males are fighting eachother to impress the females.

But more importantly for this list, they are fast! Kangaroos can reach speeds up to 71 km/h while jumping. 

Max speed: 71 km/h (44 mph)

Australien

Photo: Shutterstock

13. African Wild Dog

The African Wild Dogs are known for being tactical hunters in pack. They work as a team and have different assignments, such as blocking escape routes or chasing the prey. 

On top of that, they can also reach high speeds. 

Max hastighet: 71 km/h (44 mph)

Afrikansk vildhund

Photo: Shutterstock

12. Dog

When naming the dog as one of the fastest animals in the world, I’m not talking about a chihuahua or a dachshund. However, there are many dogs that can run fast, but only one is fast enough to be included on this list, and that is the Greyhound. 

Greyhound racing has become quite popular because of their incredible speeds. 

Max speed: 74 km/h (45.9 mph)

Greyhound

Photo: Shutterstock

11. Hare

This is not your typical bunny, but a wild hare. There are around 30 different species and they are all very fast despite its small size. 

The highest top speed measured by a hare is 80 km/h. The fastest of them all is the European hare, thanks to its strong hind legs. 

Max speed: 80 km/h (49.7 mph)

Hare

Photo: Shutterstock

10. Serval

An African type of cat that surely knows how to run fast. They can grow up to 1.6 meters long and primarily hunt smaller animals. What characterizes the serval except its speed is the unusually long legs for its body size. 

Max speed: 80 km/h (49.7 mph)

Serval

Photo: Shutterstock

9. Cougar/Mountain Lion

A big cat that lives in North and South America. Thanks to its powerful hind legs it can reach speeds of up to 80 km/h and jump as far as 12-13 meters in one jump.

Max speed: 80 km/h (49.7 mph)

Puma

Photo: Shutterstock

8. Jaguar

Another big cat that can run fast is the jaguar with a similar speed to the mountain lion. The Jaguar belong to the same genus (Panthera) as the tiger, lion, and leopard. 

It’s a feared and powerful predator that lives in Central- and South America in the rainforests. It primarily hunts various types of smaller mammals, but also fishes, caimans, and turtles will due if there’s an opportunity. 

Max speed: 80 km/h (49.7 mph)

Jaguar

Photo: Shutterstock

7. Caracal

The old Egyptians used the caracal for hunting purposes, and they exist naturally in Africa, Middle East, Central Asia as well as India. They are mostly active at night and reach speeds of up to 80 km/h.

Max speed: 80 km/h (49.7 mph)

Karakal

Photo: Shutterstock

6. Wildebeest/Gnu

The Great Migration is an annual spectacle that attracts tourists from all over the world. This is the time of the year when millions of wildebeests make their journey from Serengeti to Masai Mara. 

When they get chased by a lion, they can reach top speeds at 80 kilometer per hour. The Wildebeest is living on the African continent and can weigh up to 250 kg. 

Max speed: 80 km/h (49.7 mph)

Gnu

Photo: Shutterstock

5. Lion

One of the world’s most beloved animals is also one of the fastest animals in the world. Lions are known for being skilled hunters and the male lions are characterized by its roar and majestic mane. 

It is primarily the female lions that hunt and they are really good at it. But you need to be quick while chasing prey in Africa since many of them are just as quick. 

Max speed: 80 km/h (49.7 mph)

lion kenya

4. Pronghorn

There is a theory on how the pronghorn got its speed, and some experts claim that the pronghorn was a prey to the American Cheetah, which became extinct.

The pronghorn is running faster than any of its natural enemies. They can be found in North America. 

Max speed: 85 km/h (52.8 mph)

Gaffellantilop

Photo: Shutterstock

3. Springbok

An animal that the lion happily feast on when they occasionally catch one. Because they are not the easiest catch on the Savannah, and they are actually faster than the lions and highly alert at all times. 

Only the Fastest animal in the world can race and win against an adult and healthy springbok.

Max speed: 88 km/h (54.6 mph)

gasellantilop

Photo: Shutterstock

2. Ostrich

Did you know that the ostrich is the fastest bird on land? And also the largest bird alive today? Ostriches can’t fly, so they have to make up for it by running fast unless they want predators to catch and eat them. 

The top speeds can go as high as 96,6 km/h and an ostrich can easily run 70 km/h, thanks to their powerful legs. In the unlikely event that someone catch the ostrich, they can also give away some powerful kicks that can cause a lot of damage.

Max speed: 96,6 km/h (60 mph)

Struts

Bild: Shutterstock

1. Cheetah

The Cheetah is by far the fastest animal on land with acceleration from zero to hundred in 3 second, which is faster than most cars. With that said, the cheetah is not the fastest animal in the world, just on land. 

However, the cheetah is not a long distance runner and they can only maintain its top speed for around 500 meters. It takes a huge amount of their energy to run that fast, so if they fail to catch a prey, it could be fatal.

Max speed: 120 km/h (74.5 mph)

cheetah - world's fastest animal on land

Photo: Shutterstock

The world’s fastest animal in water

1. Marlin

The fastest fish can reach top speeds of 130 kilometer per hour, which makes the Marlin the fourth fastest animal in the world.

Max speed: 130 km/h (80.7 mph)

Marlin - World's fastest animal in water

Photo: Shutterstock

2. Sailfish

In the same family, you will find another species known as the sailfish, which is also known for being superfast. 

Max speed: 110 km/h (68 mph)

Segelfisk

Photo: Shutterstock

3. Swordfish

The third fastest animal in the water also belong to the family of Istiophoridae. Swordfish is popular to catch in the Mediterranean Sea, and it’s considered a delicacy to eat. 

Max speed: 97 km/h (60 mph)

Xiphias gladius

Photo: Shutterstock

The fastest animal in the air

1. The Peregrine Falcon

The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal in the world and is very unique with a top speed of well over 300 kilometers per hour. 

They can reach this high speed while diving vertically in the sky by pulling the wings and legs adjacent to its body to achieve perfect aerodynamics. What’s also interesting is the fact that it’s relatively slow while flying horizontally.

Max speed: 325 km/h (201 mph)

peregrine falcon - fastest animal in the world

Photo: Shutterstock

2. The Golden Eagle

The Golden Eagle is the second fastest animal in the world. Just like the Peregrine falcon, it reaches its top speed while diving vertically in the sky. It’s a feared predator by small rodents and mammals, and they hunt with precision. 

Max speed: 320 km/h (198 mph)

golden eagle - second fastest animal in the world

Photo: Shutterstock

3. The Gyrfalcon

At third place of the world’s fastest animals, you’ll find another bird of prey, namely the Gyrfalcon, which by the way is the largest of all falcons. The Gyrfalcon live around the arctic coasts and tundra, but also on a few islands in North America, Europe and Asia. 

Max speed: 209 km/h (129 mph)

Jaktfalk - tredje snabbaste djuret i världen

Photo: Shutterstock

More about the fastest animal in the world

How to measure the fastest animals in the world can vary, but normally most people are interested to know which is the fastest land animal since we ourselves are living on land. 

It can also seem unfair to compare with animals in the air or water since each of those elements can give huge advantages when it comes to attain higher speeds. 

Worth noting also is the fact that the top speed is highly individual, just like with humans. For example, there can be quite a difference between two cheetahs. That’s why the top-speed works like a benchmark when naming the fastest animal in the world. 

How fast can a human run?

The fastest human in the world is currently Usain Bolt, who holds the world record at 44,72 km/h (27,78 miles per hour).

fastest human in the world

Photo: Petr Toman / Shutterstock.com


Did you know about the fastest animal in the world, or were you surprised? Leave a comment below!

June 22nd, 2019|

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Swedish Nomad

Hello! I’m Alex Waltner — A Swedish Travel Blogger & Photographer.

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