What Is The Fastest Animal In The World?

Do you know what is the fastest animal? Check this list of the fastest land, aquatic, and flying animals.

When we think about the fastest animals in the world, we think about animals such as the cheetah, the shark, and the falcon, which manage to reach a high speed in only a few seconds. However, there are others less well-known animals that will surprise you. Don't miss this  list of the 25 fastest animals in the world.

Fastest land animals

In addition to some relentless predators who have made speed their great weapon, there are some reptiles, insects, and invertebrates whose speed will surprise you. Here you have a list of the fastest land animals in the world:

1. Tiger beetle

Have you ever seen a tiger beetle run? It's incredible. Although it seems harmless and small, this beetle species is a voracious predator (that is why it is called tiger) that uses its sharp teeth and amazing speed as weapons.

They eat insects and worms, and they reach such speed that they need to stop after some centimeters because their sight grows hazy. They reach about 10 kilometers per hour, which by the size of their body corresponds to 400 for a human.

  • The tiger beetle runs at a speed of 400 kilometers per hour for a human.

2. Cheetah

The cheetah is undoubtedly the fastest land animal, but the most surprising thing about it is its speed of acceleration: it manages to reach 114 kilometers per hour in ten seconds. As happens with many of these animals, its attack has to be very precise, because after a few seconds it has to stop. 

It has an anatomy made to run; the big size of its heart allows it to pump more blood than the rest of felines, its lungs and nostrils are bigger to be able to absorb more oxygen, and its claws are not retractable, which makes traction easier.

  • How fast can a cheetah run? It reaches a speed of 114 kilometers per hour.

3. Thomson's gazelle

Its agility, speed, and elegance have allowed it to adapt to the terrestrial environment and escape from its predators' attack. Thomson's gazelle can run at 80 kilometers an hour, which is a lot for a land animal, but it is also a clever strategist, as it misleads its pursuer and warns the herd with continuous jumps.

This animal has perfect anatomy: its colors in particular, through dark spots on his body it blurs its outline to camouflage itself in arid environments.

  • Thomson's gazelle can run at 80 kilometers an hour.

4. Pronghorn

This strange combination of antelope and deer that lives in North America gets to 100 kilometers per hour. This is why it is in the list of the fastest animals in the world. It has the peculiarity that, in addition to speed, it has a fantastic resistance.

A pronghorn can maintain a high speed for about two hours. In fact, they have so much energy that they often run for fun.

  • The pronghorn reaches a speed of 100 kilometers per hour.

5. Ostrich

The ostrich is the biggest and the heaviest flightless bird that has acquired an excellent ability for running. Although they do not fly, they have two small wings that they move when running to get to 90 kilometers per hour. 

When it feels threatened, the ostrich runs at high-speed thanks to muscular legs and waving its wings as a deterrent method, but if it is cornered, then it uses its powerful claws.

  • The speed of the ostrich reaches 90 kilometers per hour.

6. Antelope

It is similar to the pronghorn, and it has the same morphology, the antelope is a big bovid that eats grass and has a peaceful character. However, when they feel threatened, they can reach 70 kilometers per hour. 

Apart from the speed of movement, thanks to strong legs, antelopes have a great stride that allows them to travel great distances in a few seconds.

  • The antelope's speed can be up to 70 kilometers per hour. 

7. Hare

European hares reach over 60 kilometers per hour thanks to an improved traction system consisting of driving with the front legs while the rear legs pass in front and are supported to double the impulse.

Among the different types of hares that exist, the European one is the fastest, reaching 70 kilometers per hour. 

  • Hares run at a speed of between 60 and 70 kilometers per hour.

8. Common basilisk

It is considered the fastest reptile in the world, and it has the extraordinary ability to walk on water without going under, precisely because of the speed. Its secret lies in the lobes of its hind legs which, when unfolded, act as fins.

This is a very useful skill, because when it goes on land, it rolls up its lobes and, feeling persecuted, it walks quickly until it reaches the water where it deploys its fins and can continue running. It measures 80 centimeters, and it can reach two meters per second.

  • The basilisk lizard reaches two meters per second when running.

9. Worm

You are surprised, right? Well, the worm is the fastest legless invertebrate animal on the face of the earth. The unique structure of its body made up of rings that stretch and contract allows it to reach speeds of 16 kilometers per hour, a feat for a living being without legs or skeleton.

  • The maximum speed of worms is: 16 kilometers per hour.

Fastest aquatic animals

In the water, the shark is the fastest animal and the scariest, but there are also other species less known that reach high speeds. These are the fastest aquatic animals in the world.

10. Brazilian merganser

One of the great unknown sprinters in the water is the Brazilian merganser, which  dwells in South American aquatic habitats and survives attacks with a distrustful character that makes it dive when it feels the danger, and a speed of up to 160 kilometers per hour.

The Brazilian merganser has developed a clever strategy to avoid being hunted: it sits on the rocks attentive to what is happening around it, and at the slightest threat it dives into the water and flees at great speed. However, there is a predator that it has not managed to dodge, man, and right now this animal is endangered.

  • The Brazilian merganser can reach 160 kilometers per hour. 

11. Shortfin mako shark

This shortfin shark species has two characteristics that make it special: it exists in many oceans and seas, such as the Mediterranean, and according to some recent tests this is the fastest animal from the sea with a speed of 124 kilometers per hour. 

To get to that speed, this type of shark has a strong musculature and a sophisticated hydrodynamic system based on a homeothermic type semicircular fin that allows it to accumulate more body energy.

  • The shortfin mako shark reaches 124 kilometers per hour.

12. Sailfish

It is called sailfish because it has a fin in the shape of a sail that, as in the boats, has an acceleration function. It lives in the vast oceans of the world (Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian) and reaches 119 kilometers per hour in short distances.

It reaches this speed because of its dorsal fin, which cuts through the air like a propeller, and a rigid semi-circular tail that gives it aerodynamic power. The sharpened sword-shaped muzzle completes its hunting weapons.

  • The average sailfish speed is 119 kilometers per hour.

13. Wahoo

It is an unknown species that lives in tropical waters: in the Caribean and some seas in Central America. It is a big animal, but it is not stocky, it is rather thin, which gives it special agility. 

It is one of the fastest aquatic animals because it can reach 90 kilometers per hour

It has another very interesting peculiarity: the coloration of its scales, with silver stripes, in that long and thin body, make it camouflage itself with water when swimming at such speed. It is imperceptible.

  • The wahoo can reach 90 kilometers per hour.

14. Atlantic bluefin tuna

The speed achieved by the Atlantic bluefin tuna, one of the fastest animals in the aquatic world, has special merit if we take into account that it weighs from 400 to 700 kilos. Its powerful musculature and its fins give it a high speed to hunt and avoid being captured: about 70 kilometers per hour.

However, its meat is one of the most coveted in the market for its delicious flavor, which makes it one of the favorite species of fishers.

  • The Atlantic bluefin tuna  reaches 70 kilometers per hour.

15. Blue shark

The blue shark is a marine shark widespread in coastal areas so that its particularity is its proximity to man. In addition, due to the shape of its body, it is an excellent swimmer that can reach 70 kilometers per hour.

As opposed to other more robust sharks, this one has a more agile and less heavy body that facilitates the impulse with its two dorsal fins, two pectoral fins, two anal fins and a caudal fin.

  • The blue shark reaches 70 kilometers per hour.

16. Swordfish

It has a similar anatomic shape as the sailfish, although it is less heavy and slimmer. Due to the speed it can reach (70 kilometers per hour) and the sharp sword it has as a snout, it is a very effective predator. 

Moreover, it uses its stinger as a defensive weapon that protects it from nearly all the other marine predators. As happens with the tuna, though, the high levels of magnesium in its meat has made it a common prey for fishers. 

  • The speed of the swordfish: 70 kilometers per hour.

17. Flying fish

In a list of the fastest animals in the world, the flying fish couldn't be left out. It is a curious species of fish that distinguishes itself by traveling long distances over the oceans. Its body is a torpedo designed to reach a high speed.

To be able to fly, it reaches up to 60 kilometers per hour in the water and, from there, it gets enough strength to propel itself thanks to the movement of its dorsal fins and tail. It elevates a few meters, where it can fly for around 200 meters: which seems like a miracle if we keep in mind that it does not have wings. 

  • The flying fish reaches 60 kilometers per hour in the water.

Fastest flying animals

Airspace has also given rise to many species that have made speed a hunting tool or an adaptive advantage. In addition to birds, in this list, we also include some insects.

18. Peregrine falcon

The fastest bird in the world is the peregrine falcon, a bird of prey that usually flies at 100 kilometers per hour, but whose fatal attack swoops down at 360 kilometers, more than the golden eagle.  That, along with its sharp beak, makes it a fearsome predator.

It eats middle-size birds, small mammals, reptiles and insects. It is blueish with a whitish belly.

  • The peregrine falcon reaches 360 kilometers per hour. 

19. Golden eagle

Only surpassed by the peregrine falcon, the eagle also performs lethal swooping down attacks to hunt small mammals and reptiles with their powerful claws. In this case, the golden eagle, thanks to its large wings, can reach up to 300 kilometers per hour.

It usually makes its nest in rocks, a period in which it goes to the terrestrial surface speed diving to get food for its babies. For this, they have a privileged view that allows them to see their preys at a long distance. 

  • The golden eagle reaches a speed of 300 kilometers per hour.

20. Alpine swift

The Alpine swift is the biggest bird of its species, and it is very strong. Thanks to its enormous wings in the shape of a crossbow, this swift has purified its flight and has become faster (200 kilometers per hour).

Furthermore, the swift is always in the air, where it also hunts and drinks, and even sleeps, being able to stay in permanent flight for up to 200 days.

  • The speed of the Alpine swift is 200 kilometers per hour.

21. Hobby

The hobby is an animal from the falcon family that is similar to the swift in its flight —the secret of its body that allows it to reach up to 200 kilometers per hour when diving is the length of its wings. 

It has very long wings that when they are folded, they surpass the length of the tail. This is what allows it to make sudden turns in the air with high precision.

  • The hobby reaches 200 kilometers per hour.

22. Northern gannet

It is a large seabird that sits on land only to nest the young. This bird breeds in large colonies in northern Europe and then makes a long migration to African Guinea.

To feed its babies, the Northern gannet has developed an effective method to hunt fish, consisting of a  swooping attack that reaches 160 kilometers per hour.

  • The Northern gannet reaches a speed of 160 kilometers per hour.

23. Dragonfly

Another body built for speed is the one of the dragonfly, an insect with a light and long body, and thin wings whose movement propels it at 145 kilometers per hour.

As if that weren't enough, unlike other insects it can move both the front and rear wings at the same time, allowing it to gain power and save energy on takeoff and landing. In addition, they have a perfected eye with a 360º vision to detect their preys.

  • Dragonflies fly at 145 kilometers per hour.

24. Common teal

It is the bird that achieves greater speed in horizontal flight, up to 120 kilometers per hour, is the common teal, a species from Africa and Eurasia that has an enormous wingspan and a lot of agility in movements.

It is a small species of ducks, although when it moves, it acquires the behavior and shape of a wading bird.

  • Common teals reach a speed of 120 kilometers per hour.

25. Hummingbird

The hummingbird is one of those wonders of evolution shown in the aspect of a very little bird (no more than 9 grams) with a tail in the shape of a fan and that it maintains a vertical position from which, flapping its wings,  it moves sideways, from top to bottom, and back and forth, making it a unique species.

Its metallic green feathers with shades of pink and blue, and the speed it reaches (100 kilometers per hour) make it a visual marvel.

  • The hummingbird flies at a speed of 100 kilometers per hour.