Some animals are perfectly designed to be the ultimate speed machines.
Some of these fly through the air, others swim through water and some run on land. Most of the fastest animals are birds so our list below includes a selection of the fastest of all these different types of animals. Here are 10 of the fastest animals in the world.
The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest bird, and in fact the fastest animal on the planet, when in its hunting dive, the stoop, in which it soars to a great height, then dives steeply at speeds of over 322kph (200mph). It reaches horizontal cruising speeds of up to 90 kph (56mph).
Find out more fascinating information on Peregrine Falcons in our Animals A-Z section.
Picture Credit: Juan Lacruz
White Throated Needletail
The White Throated Needletail (also known as the Spine Tailed Swift) is the fastest bird in powered flight, with a top recorded speed of 171kph/106mph!
Picture Credit: Ron Knight
The frigate bird’s speed of 153kph(95mph) is helped by having the largest wingspan to body weight ratio of any bird. They are able to stay aloft for more than a week at a time!
Picture Credit: Waltmills (Wiki Commons User)
The Spur-Winged Goose is the world’s largest goose and can fly at 142kph (88mph).
Picture Credit: Dick Daniels
The cheetah is skilled at running down fast prey and can reach a top speed of 113kph (70mph). That’s three times faster than the top running speed for a human which is about 36kph (22mph)!
Cheetahs have a skill that no other big cat has, find out what that is in our Animal A-Z section.
The sail fish is easily the world’s fastest fish, speeding through the water at 110kph (68mph)!
Picture Credit: CFoceanimages
The Pronghorn antelope is the second fasted land animal and at 98kph (60mph) can out-sprint predators.
Picture Credit: Yathin SK (Wiki Commons)
Marlin can swim at 80kph (50mph), just beaten for the title of the world’s fastest fish by the super speedy Sail Fish.
Picture Credit: Dominic Sharoney
The Blue Wildebeest, Springbok and Thompson’s gazelle can all run at about 80kph (50mph) which almost exactly matches the top speed of a lion.
Picture Credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim
The Brown Hare’s long back legs enable them to reach speeds of 77kph (48mph), the same speed as their predator the red fox.
Picture Credit: David Baird