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16 Fastest Animals in the World

Did you know that there are animals out there that can move at speeds faster than the average human? In fact, some of these animals can move so quickly, they put Usain Bolt to shame! Read on to learn about the fastest animals in the world and find out just how fast they can go. You might be surprised by some of the entries on this list!

It’s time to meet the fastest animals in the world. As you’d expect, there are some incredible creatures that have been built for speed. They can’t all be cheetahs, of course—some are fish and some are insects. But they’re all fast!

Fastest Animals in the World

1. Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon on the Ground

Imagine diving at more than 200km/h, just like the speed of sound. That’s what the peregrine falcon can do, making it one of the fastest animals in the world. It’s known as the fastest bird in the world for a reason and it’s incredibly powerful as well.

Peregrine falcons have a top speed of 320km/h and have diving speeds reaching 230km/h. With these incredible capabilities, it doesn’t take long for them to catch their prey—they can reach altitudes of up to 10,000m (32,808ft) and fly at about 100km/h when hunting for food.

See Related: These 13 Animals Have the Best Hearing in the World

2. World’s Fastest Land Animal: Cheetah

Cheetah with a Cheetah Cub

The cheetah is the fastest animal on land, capable of reaching speeds of up to 70 miles per hour. This big cat’s speed comes from a unique adaptation: its flexible spine allows it to decrease its stride length when running and increase it when walking. Cheetahs are found in Africa and Asia, where they hunt antelopes by ambush.

Cheetahs don’t have very good vision, so they rely on their other senses like hearing and smell (especially their ability to detect vibrations) as well as their speed in order to catch prey. If you ever see a cheetah chasing down an antelope or deer through the African plains, be sure not to get too close until all danger has passed!

See Related: How Do Animals Adapt To Their Environment?

3. Pronghorn Antelope

Pronghorn Antelope in the Wild

The pronghorn antelope is one of the fastest land animals in North America. At full speed, they can reach up to 60 miles an hour (97 kilometers per hour), but average speeds are around 40 mph (64 km/h). They also have impressive acceleration: 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.2 seconds and 0–100 in 12 seconds!

Pronghorn antelopes were once thought to be fast enough to outrun predators like wolves or cougars, but not anymore. The American Antelope has a top speed that has been measured at 61 mph (98 km/h), which is still impressive even though it’s not as fast as it used to be.

See Related: Fastest Animals in the World

4. Springbok

Herd of Springbok

The springbok is a small antelope that have top speeds as high as 70 kilometers per hour. It is also one of the fastest mammals on land and has been known to run for long distances at great speeds.

Springboks are also very good jumpers, able to leap up to three meters in the air. These traits make them exceptional prey for lions, leopards, and cheetahs who hunt them by chasing them into a fence or water source where they become trapped and are easy targets for predators.

However, despite their speed and jumping abilities springboks are vulnerable because they often travel alone or in pairs making it difficult for groups of animals to scatter when being threatened by predators such as lions or cheetahs. They have such a fast running speed that they frequently end up alone.

See Related: Hirola Antelope: Why Is It Endangered?

5. Sailfish

Sailfish and School of Fish
image by jidanchaomian is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Sailfish is the fastest fish in the world, able to reach speeds of up to 68 km/h. They can be found in tropical and subtropical waters, where they inhabit warm surface waters with temperatures between 20 to 30°C. Sailfish feed on smaller fish, squid, and shrimp. They have a spear-shaped bill that helps them catch their prey quickly by slashing it open with their sharp teeth.

Sailfish are known for their ability to jump out of the water while swimming at high speed—they’re so fast they sometimes exceed their own length!

Their dorsal fins also give them an edge over other marine animals; when traveling at high speeds these fins act like wings do for birds when flying low over land – they keep them stable while moving quickly through water (think about how difficult it is trying not only move forward but stay level if you’re running full speed).

This allows sailfish a unique advantage since they can use one fin more efficiently than most other fish while still maintaining stability even though they don’t have swim bladders like other species do.

See Related: Fastest Animals in the World

6. Grey-Headed Albatross

Flying Grey-Headed Albatross
image by Gregory ‘Slobirdr’ Smith is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The Grey-headed albatross, which has a wingspan of 8.2 ft and a height of 3.9 ft, is among the fastest animals in the world. It can reach speeds up to 68 mph for short distances, making it one of only two birds capable of flying at supersonic speeds. The other bird? The Peregrine Falcon.

The Grey-headed albatross spends most of its life gliding through the air over open oceans, so being able to move quickly helps it conserve energy. These birds also have long bills (tongues), which allow them to eat squid and fish that have been caught by other predators like tuna or dolphins before they sink back down into the water column where they were caught originally.

See Related: Mariana Trench Animals

7. Sperm Whale

Mother and Child Sperm Whale
Gabriel Barathieu, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The fastest whale of all is the sperm whale, which can swim at speeds up to 25 km/h (15.5 mph) and dive to depths of 1000 meters (3281 feet). They are also the second largest living mammals after blue whales.

While these giant creatures may not be as fast as their dolphin cousins, they have amazing athletic abilities that allow them to hunt smaller prey like squid or krill while avoiding predators such as sharks and orcas.

See Related: Fun, Interesting Facts About Whales

8. Blue Wildebeest

Blue Wildebeest in the Wild

The Blue Wildebeest is a large antelope that can be found in the savanna and grasslands of east and south Africa. This species has been classified as “near threatened” by the IUCN due to habitat loss due to human activity.

Like many other animals on this list, the Blue Wildebeest are fast runners, able to reach speeds of up to 70 km/h (43 mph). They are also known for their loud bellowing calls that can be heard from up to 7 kilometers away!

9. Marlin

Marlin Out of the Water
image by Dominic Sherony is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The marlin is a large, highly migratory fish that can be found in all tropical and subtropical oceans. It is very strong, fast, and highly migratory. The marlin has been called the “greyhound of the sea” because of its speed and agility when fully grown.

Marlins are widely sought after by sport fishermen who use hook-and-line methods to capture them during their annual migrations in temperate waters worldwide (North America, South America, Africa).

Several species have been overfished or are threatened with extinction due to heavy demand for sport fishing or as bait for commercial fishermen.

See Related: Are Fish Endangered? What You Need to Know

10. Frigate Bird

Frigate Bird on its Nest

If you have ever been swimming in a lake and suddenly felt something touch your toe, it’s probably not a fish. More likely, it was the foot of a crayfish—likely one of the chub species found throughout North America. These freshwater crustaceans usually live on river bottoms and small streams with muddy bottoms where they can burrow into soft soil for protection from predators.

Crayfish are omnivores that eat plants, insects, and other invertebrates; some species will even eat small fish if given the chance! They will also eat worms or snails if given the chance to do so because hey—you never know when someone’s going to throw their guts at you!

The name “crawdad” comes from farmers who believed that these animals were good luck charms that would bring prosperity to their fields (but don’t count on them for free food!).

See Related: 15 Animals that Start with X

11. Black Marlin

Black Marlin Illustration

The black marlin is the fastest fish in the world. They can reach speeds of up to 46.6 km/h (28 mph) and are found in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The black marlin is large billfish that grow anywhere between 2–3 meters (6–10 feet) in length and weigh around 590 kg (1,300 lbs).

The name “black marlin” refers specifically to one species within this family of fish, but can also refer more generally to any member of these fish groups which have black bodies and white bellies.

Black marlins live primarily off tropical reefs at depths ranging from 15–200 m (50-656 ft), although they may occasionally be found at greater depths during migrations or when feeding on squid or other deep-water prey items such as tuna or wahoo.

However, their preferred habitat is along nearshore shallow waters where they hunt for small tuna schools that feed on baitfish aggregated over coral reef tops by small predators such as barracuda.

See Related: Fun and Interesting Devilfish Facts

12. Big Brown Bat

Big Brown Bat in a Cave
image by USFWS Headquarters is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

If you’re looking for a bat that can get you from one place to another in record time, the big brown bat is your best bet. It’s the largest species of bat in North America and the only one that hibernates during the winter.

The average lifespan for this species is about 30 years—so if you’re worried about making it home before bedtime, don’t be! The big brown bat prefers to roost in trees or buildings instead of caves, which means it’s more likely than some other species to be hanging around where you live.

13. Mexican Free-Tailed Bat

Mexican Free-Tailed Bat on a Rock
image by USFWS Headquarters is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Mexican Free-Tailed bat is a small member of the bat family, but that doesn’t mean they’re not fast. In fact, they are some of the fastest mammals on Earth. They can reach speeds of up to 100 km/h (62 mph) while flying at night.

Their wingspan is about 10 inches long—not much bigger than your palm! Mostly found in Mexico and the southern United States, these bats live close to water sources like lakes or rivers where they find plenty of insects to eat.

14. White-Throated Needletail Swift

Body of a White-Throated Needletail Swift
Auckland Museum, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This bird is known as one of the fastest-flying birds in the world, and it can reach speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. In fact, this swift has been clocked at speeds of more than 200 miles an hour! It can also fly at heights of up to 9,000 meters (roughly 30,000 feet). The white-throated needletail swift has the ability to glide for extended periods of time without landing or flapping its wings; this is something that other birds cannot do.

The white-throated needletail swift lives in remote areas in Asia and Australia. It prefers open spaces where it can catch insects for food.

See Related: Is a Bird a Consumer? Here’s What to Know

15. Fastest Insect: Male Horsefly

Face of a Male Horsefly
image by Radu P is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The fastest insect in the world is the male horsefly. Horseflies are found all over North America, and they can reach a maximum speed of up to 25 miles per hour.

They have been known to fly at a height of around 3 feet, but they usually fly much closer to the ground—only about an inch above it. Horseflies also tend to fly in straight lines and only travel short distances before landing again.

16. American Quarter Horse

Male American Quarter Horse
evelynbelgium, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The American Quarter Horse is one of the world’s fastest land animals. These horses are bred specifically for racing and can reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour.

Quarter horses are popular for their agility, strength, and speed, and are used in a variety of different horse races. They necessarily don’t have a very high burst speed compared to some of these other fastest creatures mentioned in this list but once they get going to a cruising speed, look out!

These horses have a lot of muscle mass in their hindquarters, which allows them to run quickly and efficiently. They also have a very low center of gravity, which keeps them stable when they’re running at high speeds. Quarter horses are a very versatile breed and can be used for a variety of activities, including racing, ranch work, and pleasure riding.

See Related: Do Bulletproof Animals Exist? Here’s What You Need to Know

What Features Make Animals Fast?

There are many animals in the world that are considered to be fast. Animals are fast due to the design of their bodies and their muscle composition. Some animals are able to run fast because they are very lightweight, while others have long legs that help them cover a lot of ground quickly.

The fastest animals in the world have a combination of these features that enable them to reach high speeds. These animals are highly elusive and can be difficult to track down, but we have compiled a list of the 10 fastest animals in the world, based on their top running speed.


There you have it – the fastest animals in the world! While some of these creatures are capable of reaching speeds that are truly astounding, remember that they all have a purpose and play an important role in their respective ecosystems. So the next time you see one of these animals out in the wild, take a moment to appreciate their incredible speed and power.


What is the fastest land animal in the world?

The cheetah is the fastest land animal in the world, capable of reaching speeds of up to 70 mph. Cheetahs are built for speed, with long, powerful legs and flexible spine that allows them to make sudden turns at high speeds. They are also the quickest land animals in the world, able to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just three seconds.

Which is the fastest-flying bird?

The peregrine falcon is the fastest flying bird in the world, reaching speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. The peregrine is also one of the fastest animals on the planet, able to reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour when diving for prey.

What are the fastest animals in the ocean?

The fastest swimming animal is the sailfish, which can reach speeds of up to 68 miles per hour. And the fastest animal in the water is the black marlin, which has been recorded swimming at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour.

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