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What Is The Fastest Animal In The World?

Updated on July 30, 2013

As humans we are fascinated by the anomalies and factual extremes in our world. "What is the tallest _____?" or "What is the fastest _____?" are common questions that each of us will ask on a day to day basis. As such, I decided to write an article for you presenting you with the fastest animals on land and in the sea and air. But what are they?


What is the Fastest Animal on Land?

As one of the many animals currently classed as endangered (living predominantly in Africa) the Cheetah is known to be the fastest land animal currently living on our planet. With speeds of up to 120 km/h (75 mph) and a 0- 100km/h acceleration normally of around 5- 10 seconds there is certainly some validity to the claims stating it to be the fastest land animal on the planet. If we think of it purely in acceleration terms, the Cheetah could be said to have a faster acceleration than some cars. However, due to the amount of energy that it takes to reach speeds this fast, the Cheetah can only maintain a sprint for a maximum of around 500 metres. This works to the advantage of the much slower prey of the Cheetah for it will tire out very quickly when hunting.

The fact that it is able to run so fast is probably an evolutionary adaption in order to aid its survival as a species. For example, Cheetah’s may be seen to have much larger nostrils than other feline relatives. This will mean that it can take a larger amount of oxygen over a shorter period of time. Thus, in a chase the Cheetah’s respiratory rate is able to go from 60 breaths per to 150.

What is the Fastest Animal in the sea?

With recorded speeds of 110 km/h (68 mph) the Sailfish is said to be one of the fastest creatures that inhabits our waters. However, I highlight one here because of the apparent difficulty in gaining reliable measurements of the speed of fish when they are travelling. This fish is simply one of the fastest to have been accurately measured so far.

Moving on it may be seen that the Sailfish is perfectly adapted to travelling through the water at high speeds. It has a pointed bill (much like a swordfish) and is a very long and thing fish. This gives it the ability to cut through the water faster than other larger fishes. In terms of length they tend to reach around a couple of metres long although larger specimens have been caught. They are not massively heavy either and so will normally not reach weights much larger than 90 kilos. Although it sounds a large weight, you have to remember that this is not that much considering their length. There are Marlin’s that have been caught weighing 2-3x this weight.

What is the Fastest Animal in the Air?

Reaching speeds of over 380 km/h (242 mph) when carrying out its predatory swoop, it may be seen that the Peregrine Falcon is probably the fastest animal in the whole of the animal kingdom. They are a large predatory bird who survives almost exclusively off of a diet of smaller birds that are lower down in the food chain.

In terms of size they can range from a body length of 13-23 inches with a wingspan ranging from 29- 47 inches. What is interesting though, is that the Peregrine Falcon is a species which shows reverse sexual dimorphism. This means that the female of the species will be considerably larger than the male.

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      Twila Nelson 4 years ago from Carmichael, California

      Beautiful images and interesting HubPages article. Thank you.