Top 5 Fastest Land Animals in the World

1. Cheetah

Speed- 112-120 km/h (70-75 mph)

The king of fast runners, the ultimate speed devil, the cheetah is a stunning, graceful mammal known to be the fastest animal on earth. It is designed to running down fast prey, accelerating at an astounding acceleration of 96 km/h in under 3 seconds. It can sprint at such a speed for only 60 seconds, with most of this time spent in the air, rather than on the ground. The cheetah has many adaptions that allow it to sprint across plains; its rangy form supports long limbs and a deep chest cavity together with small waist and an extremely flexible spine. They are an endangered species, having disappeared from huge area, though still being found sparsely in Africa. Currently it is found in sub Saharan Africa and Iran. It is extremely important that we do something to protect this species. It would be a disgrace if this wonderful stunning mammal disappears from the face of the earth due to man’s incompetence, selfishness and hunting.

2. Free tailed Bat

Speed in flight -96.6 km/h (60.0 mph)

Mexican free tailed bat or simply free tailed bats are the second fastest animals, right after the mighty cheetah. They have a characteristic mouse like tail protruding beyond the flight membrane and look relatively plain when compared to other bats, the only difference being their superb aerial abilities, mainly due to their long narrow wings with pointed tips. Their long narrow wings enable them to fly very fast and the long hairs on their toes are excellent for judging flight speed and turbulence. This species is found in abundance in places like Brazil, Bolivia Argentina and Chile to Oregon, Nebraska and Ohio. Its largest and well known population is found in Mexico and Texans USA. They are aerial insectivores and their diets mostly include moths, beetles, dragon flies, wasps, bees and ants. They have been studied in detail for many years and it is believed that during the second world war , they were secretly investigated by the us air force for their potential to carry tiny bombs into japan.

3. Pronghorn

Speed- 88.5 km/h (55.0 mph)

Usually mislabeled as an antelope, the Pronghorn is more closely related to goats. An often overlooked mammal, it known to be one of the fastest animals in North America. In fact it is the second fastest animal in the world, after the cheetah. They are the only living members of the family Antilocapridae, and vast herds once roamed North America. They have distinctive forked horns which develop in to a more pronounced prong like shape. Apart from running fast they have other exceptional qualities .They have large eyes projecting away from the skull, giving them a wide view of the field .The pronghorn occurs in western North America, distributed throughout the treeless plains, basins and deserts to the southern prairie provinces of Canada. Pronghorn limbs are specially designed for running, giving them enhanced speed and endurance. They are the fastest known new world mammals, travelling at a speed of 98 km/h when sprinting and can hold a sustained speed of 59 to 65 km/h.

4. Springbok

Speed- 88 km/h (55 mph)

South Africa’s national animal and the only South African gazelle, the springbok is an antelope of the gazelle tribe. They are known for their incredibly fast stiff legged jumps and can reach a speed of 88 km/h. However, unlike the pronghorn, springbok is a poor long distance runner and despite their remarkable speed, they still remain vulnerable to predators like cheetahs and leopards. Very sociable animals, they can often be found in herds along with animals like the wildebeest and ostriches. They are found in southwestern Africa, mainly in the countries of Namibia, Botswana, Angola and the republic of South Africa. The springbok is a striking animal, reddish brown in color with a pale underside. They can also be recognized by their distinctive ringed curved black horns. They can leap up 4m in the air, which is also known as pronking. Their diet mostly includes grass and other vegetation.

5. Wildebeest

Speed- 80.5 km/h (55.0 mph)

The wildebeest is a type of antelope, native to Africa, which are commonly known to move in large herds. There are two types of wildebeest, the blue and black wildebeest. Both are extremely fast runners and look like a cross between an antelope and a cow. They are herbivores and have very sharp short horns, which they use to protect themselves. The wildebeest is another animal that needs all its endurance and strength to outrun or escape its predator. Usually to escape a predator, they move in large groups or herds making it difficult to hunt them down. If not hunted or killed down, a wildebeest has an average lifespan of 20 years. A fully gown wildebeest weighs about 120-270 kg and 1.27–1.47 at the shoulders. Their most distinctive feature is the color of their coats.

About author

Anton Ferreira is a veteran journalist who has spent the last 20 years working with newspapers, magazines and websites covering marketing, business, technology, financial services and a variety of other topics.
Sign up for our Newsletter and
stay informed