Speed is an important factor for survival of animals in the wild as the faster they run, the higher are the chances for their survival. The wildlife has to struggle everyday as the only escape from their predators is to simply cover long-distance runs in a comparatively short period of time.
Even an elephant when startled can gain a speed of 24 mph in an effort to escape. Well, this justifies how speed matters for wildlife as their whole survival rate in order to carry the species lines forward depends on their competence with opponents.
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Top 10 Fastest Land Animals in the World
In case you’re not aware of the world’s fastest running animals, here I have curated a list on the same that will acquaint you with Top 10 fastest land species.
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10. Kangaroo (71 km / 44 m per hour)
Belonging to the animal family Macropus which means ‘big foot’, Kangaroo with their powerful hind legs in a single bound can leap 30 feet (9 meters) and travel more than 30 miles (48 kilometers) per hour.
Most of their population live in groups (usually termed as mobs by Australians) and are found mainly in the parts of Eastern Australia. They stand over 6 feet (2 meters) tall and are largest among all marsupials.
Kangaroos are active during night and during weathers, they promote heat loss via evaporation by licking their forearms. They pound the ground in threatening conditions as a sign of warning to the opponents.
The largest threat to these species are underlying heat, drought, and hunger conditions that are destroying their habitat tremendously.
9. Greyhound (74 km / 46 m per hour)
Greyhounds are one of the fastest dog breeds that were originally bred as hunting dogs to chase mechanical hares. They are capable of reaching speeds of 40 to 45 miles per hour which entitles them as the fastest dog breed ever.
As for the behaviour, they are gentle and loving pets and that each one equips a personality of their own. They appear large but are considered as aerodynamic (carries no body fat) and that their weight varies between 60 and 70 pounds.
Their wide-set eyes are prominent as they boast a 270-degree range of vision which makes them hunt the prey even a half-mile away. As their body structure is not designed to withstand extreme weather, they cannot stay outside for long periods.
8. Hare (80 km / 50 m per hour)
Hare also referred to as jackrabbit belongs to the Leporidae family, there are about 32 reported species of hare that are said to live in Africa, Eurasia and North America.
Their appearance is characterized by extremely long ears, long hind legs, short snout, big eyes, and stout body. Hares tend to live above ground and usually hide in grasses or shrubs only in threatening conditions.
They are capable of achieving a speed between 40 and 50 MPH and therefore are among the fastest land animals. With their powerful hind limbs, they can leap about 10 feet in the air and even swim rivers and large bodies of water without much effort. Some of their remarkable characteristics include a finely developed sense of hearing, smell, and vision.
7. Blackbuck (80 km / 50 m per hour)
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Blackbuck usually referred to as Indian antelopes are divided into two different subspecies, the southeastern blackbuck, and the northwestern blackbuck. They are native to various parts of Asia.
Male and female blackbucks can be characterized by their physical appearance with male having long, spiral horns, and darker coats while females have no horns, and are a lighter caramel-colored brown. These species usually live in semi-desert regions, thorn forest, dry forest, scrublands and open woodlands.
They are herbivores and mainly eat flowering plants, mesquite, witchgrass, live oak, and acacia trees. This wild animal can sustain a speed of 80 km/h and is considered to be among the fastest running wild animals of India.
6. Lion (80.5km / 50 m per hour)
The second largest cat in the world, lions are mainly found in the grasslands, scrub, and open woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa.
When they have to attack their predator, they can reach top speeds of up to 80 km/h (50 mph), however due to their poor stamina, they usually remain close to their prey before they attack.
They usually live in groups called prides which consists of up to three males, a dozen related females, and young lions. In their pride, female lions are the primary hunters and that after a successful hunt, the first claim to the food is taken by adult males followed by the lionesses, and finally, the cubs.
5. Wildebeest (80.5 km / 50 m per hour)
Wildebeest gets its name from the menacing appearance which is represented by the animals’ large head, shaggy mane, pointed beard, and sharp, curved horns.
They are native to the grassy plains and open woodlands of central, southern, and eastern Africa and are believed to travel in herds of 1000 when traveling to other locations.
These species always travel in search of food and water, their wide mouths makes it easy for them to gulp down a huge amount of grass at once. When threatened by their opponent, they can run at a speed of 80.5 km / 50 m per hour. The major threat Wildebeest faces is the fragmentation of their habitat.
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4. Quarter Horse (88 km / 54.7 m per hour)
American Quarter Horses are among the oldest breeds of horses in the United States. They are the fastest in a race with a speed of 88 km / 54.7 m per hour in an instant.
An extremely fast, agile, versatile, reliable horse, it also equips a natural feeling for cattles. They are characterized by mid-sized muscular, compact build.
It gets its name from its ability to outshine other horses in a race and were bred for performance. They have a Thoroughbred blood and incorporate several other traits as of other lines.
3. Springbok (88 km / 55 m per hour)
Springbok is rightly described by its name itself where spring denotes how it is capable of jumping to a height of 3 meters, so SPRING and BOK are the species of goat.
They tend to jump instead of running and that they can move at the highest speed of 55 miles per hour. Lightweight bodies and strong athletic legs make these species run at such a high speed. As for the habitat, they can live in a harsh and unpredictable environment, however, they prefer being native to calcareous pans, dry river beds and short grass.
They are the most abundant in the central and western parts of South Africa. Some even roam freely within the natural vegetation but now due to increasing deforestation, they are confining into grass and similar vegetation.
2. Pronghorn (88.5 km / 55 m per hour)
Pronghorns are considered to be one of the fastest animals that can run at more than 53 miles an hour. They are capable of running for miles and cover long distances.
The species gets their name from the horns that split, forming forward-pointing prongs. They graze on grass, sagebrush, and other vegetation. Their appearance is characterized by white stomachs and wide, white stripes on their throats.
Pronghorns raise their hair on the rumps which displays the white warning patch that can be easily seen by the opponents from miles away. It’s because of their lightweight body that they catch an instant fast speed when threatened.
1. Cheetah (120.7 km / 75 m per hour)
Cheetahs, within a matter of seconds can catch a speed of 70 miles per hour making them rank at the top of the world’s fastest land animals. Their long tails aids them in stabilizing & changing the direction while running at a speed of 120 km/h without any major injuries.
Cheetah’s unique mechanism of how their body functions makes them the fastest in the animal kingdom. As for the habitat, they are mainly found in sub-Saharan Africa, where they are often captured roaming in open, grassy savannah plains and open forests.
Sadly, they are classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red list with an estimated 9,000-12,000 left in number. They are threatened by loss of habitat and prey, and with human conflicts.
What are the fastest animals on land?
The fastest land animal in the world is the cheetah with a recorded speed of between 109.4 km/h (68.0 mph) and 120.7 km/h (75.0 mph).
What is the slowest land animal?
Sloths are considered to be the slowest animals in the world.
So this was all for the list of Top 10 fastest land animals. I hope now you have got acquainted with some of the fastest land animals on earth. From the list, it is clearly stated that quickest animals run on four legs, however some move by hopping.
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