Innumerable land animals are living in the world. Some of them have got a great speed which attracts the spectators. These agile fastest land animals got both large hearts and lungs that allow them to run faster than the other animals in the world. It’s equally important to say that, some of their speeds are faster than many cars!
The Fastest Land Animals of The Planet
Today we are going to spread light on the list of the top 20 fastest land animals in the world.
Cheetah (62 mph – 75 mph)
The fastest land animal in the world, the cheetah can run faster than 62 mph and it can reach up to 75 mph at its peak. It inhabits a variety of habitats such as dry & scrub forests & savannahs. The fastest land animal, cheetah is IUCN Red Listed as vulnerable because approximately only 7100 individuals are left in the world. Cheetahs are generally characterized by a slender body, deep chest, spotted coat and tail, small rounded head, black tear like streaks on their face & long thin legs.
Typically yellowish tan or rufous to greyish white, the coast covered with approximately 200 solid black spots. Male cheetahs are territorial whereas females are not. Being diurnal, they usually prey on antelopes & gazelles. As they are induced ovulator, they breed throughout the year. Luckily they are less aggressive towards human & so could be easily tamed.
Pronghorn (61 mph)
The only surviving member of the family Antilocapridae, antelopes are often known in North America as American antelope/Prong Buck/ Pronghorn antelope/ Praire antelope. They eat various kinds of plant foods. In addition to this, they chew & eat cud. Very convincingly they are called the true marathoners of the American West.
Thomson’s Gazelle (50 mph – 60 mph)
Thomson’s gazelle is also referred to as ‘tommie’. Its main predator is Cheetah. This gazelle is one of the best-known gazelles which is named after explorer Joseph Thomson and can be found in numbers exceeding 55000 in Africa. Moreover, they face many threats such as habitat modification, tourist impact, fire management etc.
Quarter Horse (55 mph)
Yes, we know they are fast but you didn’t expect to see the Quarter horse on the top 5 list. The Quarter horse or American quarter horse is one of the fastest land animals and also the most popular breed in the USA with almost 3 million living breeds registered in 2014. They are ace in sprinting short distances, rodeos, horse shows which make them unique from other horses.
It has a short small reined head with a straight profile and well muscled strong body, featuring a broad chest & rounded powerful hindquarters. They mainly got two body types such as the hunter type which is taller and the stock type that is shorter. The quarter horse comes in almost all colors but the most common is the sorrel one.
Wildebeest (50 mph)
Gnu is another name of the even-toed wildebeest. According to the fossil records, wildebeests are of two kinds such as the blue and the black wildebeest being differentiated by their color & orientation of horns. It should be noted that blue ones are bigger than black ones. Blue wildebeests reside in woodland and grasslands. On the contrary, black wildebeests reside in open grassland areas. Although their average lifespan is around 20 years, they can live for more than 40 years.
There can be both merits & demerits of having these wildebeest around humans because, on one hand, they provide us leather, meat (especially in Africa) and on another side, they can transmit disease and spread ticks, lungworms etc.
Lion (50 mph)
A lion is a sexually dimorphic, muscular, deep-chested large cat with a round, short head & ears, a reduced neck & a hairy tuft at its tail. Male lions are recognizably larger than females.
Typically, this species doesn’t hurt human beings but some lion has been known to prey on humans. They inhabit savannas & grassland but not dense forest. Despite being diurnal, this one of the fastest land animals adapts to be active at night and at twilight.
Sadly lions have been listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list. A rare morph is a white lion which has a genetic condition named leucism. They spend about 20 hours, 2 hours, and 50 minutes by resting, walking and eating respectively. For preying, they look for mammals, reptiles, and predators and avoid fully grown adults like an elephant and small prey like a hare.
Reindeer (37 mph – 50 mph)
Reindeer aka caribou is a deer species with circumpolar distribution which is native to North America, Europe & Siberia. The ruminant reindeer have a four-chambered stomach that digests lichens in winter, leaves of willows and birches and sedges and grass as well. By the same token, they eat their own fallen antlers may be for calcium. Initially, they were found in Scandinavia but now they have disappeared from there and are still found in Norway, Siberia, Alaska Canada etc.
Elk (45 mph)
Elk, also known as Wapiti, is not only one of the largest terrestrial mammals in North America & Northeast Asia but also one of the largest species in the Cervidae deer family. For most of the year, they usually prey in single-sex groups and live 20 years or more in captivity & average 10-13 years in the world. Its four-chambered stomach usually digests native grasses, tree sprouts & bark, forbs, vegetation by somewhat depending on the season.
Cape Hunting Dog (45 mph)
The Cape hunting dog is also known as the cape wild dog or South African wild dog. It is one of the fastest land animals with a speed of 45 mph.
Cape hunting dogs are characterized by the partially yellow backs of the ears, yellow underparts, a number of whitish hairs on the throat mane, a large amount of orange-yellow fur all over the back. However, this dog is prominently playing a role in Southern Africa’s mythology.
Greyhound (45 mph)
Greyhound is one of the fastest dog breeds named ‘sighthound’ that has been bred for racing & coursing games. When the retired racing greyhounds were experiencing a rise in large-scale espousal, the animal has been a resurgence in admiration as a family pet. Coursing & racing are their major abilities. You can also learn about the largest dog breeds here.
Mule Deer (30 mph – 45 mph)
Yes, the Mule Deer are very fast and can quickly change their direction which enables them to save their lives. It can run at a speed of 30 mph to 45 mph. Very interestingly mule deer is very popular for their ears which are large like those of mule. It is a deer ingenuous to western North America. Coyotes, wolves, humans are the predator of mule deer. This ruminant animal feed on grass, forb vegetation etc. For self-defense, the mule deer uses its long and sharp horns. Know about the different types of animal horns here.
Rabbit (44 mph)
In many parts of the world rabbit or bunny has become a part and parcel of life as food, clothing, a companion and a source of artistic ingenuity. Many hardly would even guess it’s one of the quickest land animals living around us!
Rabbits eat grass, forbs which contain a large amount of cellulose and henceforth they find these difficult to digest. At the same time, they overcome this problem through hindgut fermentation.
Coyote (35 mph – 43 mph)
Coyote is also called as American jackal or prairie wolf or jack wolf is a canine native to North America whose close relatives are the gray, red & eastern wolf. It is noticeably smaller & slightly smaller than gray wolf, red & eastern wolf respectively. Coyote can run at an amazing speed of 43 mph when in a pursuit which makes it one of the fastest land animals in the world.
This gregarious animal prey on porcupines in small groups or pair. Very interestingly they pee on their food so that they can claim the food’s ownership!
Gray fox (42 mph)
The omnivorous, crepuscular mammal grey or gray fox was once the most common fox seen in the eastern US. It can still be found there but the number has got down. Because of deforestation and human advancement, it has become more dominant.
Also, it’s the only American canid which has grizzled upper part, black stripe under its tail and neck, skull’s temporal ridges that make a u-shape. It’s still reining in the Pacific states dominantly. It has got less sexual dimorphism. It’s also interesting that the gray fox can climb trees!
Zebra (40 mph)
Among the countless speedy land animals, zebra is another white & black striped animal in the horse family. It can run at a speed of 40mph. Male zebra is slightly bigger than female zebras in size. On its neck, head & main body there are vertical stripes. Conversely, on the legs and at the ears, the stripes are horizontal.
Zebra feeds mostly on grasses and occasionally on shrubs, twigs, leaves etc. Substantially they have been trained for riding because of their resistance which is better than that of a horse.
Mongolian Wild Ass (40 mph)
The Mongolian wild ass/Mongolian khulan’s current population estimates are approximately 5000 animals in northern China as well as approximately 42000 animals in Mongolia. They reside in semi-desert, desert-steppe and deserts habitats on Gobi desert. In addition, the Mongolian wild ass is a herbivorous mammal that feeds in herbs, grasses & vegetation.
Correspondingly, its population is decreasing day by day due to completion from grazing livestock. Furthermore, the conservation status of this specific species is evaluated as endangered.
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Hyena (38 mph)
Though many people guess that the hyena (or hyaena) is one of the top ten fastest land animals, it’s not. Yes, they are quick and can run at an amazing 40mph pace at its peak but not in the top ten list.
Despite the low diversity, hyena/hyaena is an idiosyncratic & vital element of the African ecosystem. It has short torsos, lower hind quarters, high withers. The front legs are high whereas the behind legs are short. Besides, the spotted & striped hyenas are known as man-eaters!
Giraffe (37 mph)
You might not have expected the Giraffe to be in this list! Undoubtedly, the giraffe is not only the tallest terrestrial animal but also a genus of the African ruminant. In spite of having a long neck, giraffe’s physique is relatively short. Its eyes are located at both sides of its head that give a good vision from its great height. Its skin is gray.
The thickness of its skin allows it to run through thorn bushes freely without even getting punctured. Giraffe inhabits in open woodlands and savannahs. It has been interacting with humans since long.
Whippet (35 mph)
A medium–sized breed dog Whippet, also known as Englis Whippet or Snap dog is a sighthound breed which is originated in England. It has been noted that even today they bear a resemblance to smaller greyhounds. They take part in dog sports such as flyball and agility etc.
Jackal (10 mph – 20 mph)
The jackal is not the fastest animal but it’s faster than most of the animals living on the land. Jackal-dog hybrids show a dwindle infertility and an increase of genetic disorders after three generations of interbreeding as well. It’s equally important to say that the English word jackal derives from the French word ‘chacal’.
Animal behavior is always unpredictable and if they possess a great speed then it becomes even more difficult to figure out how they are going to react. The fastest land animals are either ferocious or agile. Some of them develop a friendly relation with human beings, on the contrary, many of them prey on humans. So in order to be aware of these animals, the first thing we need to know is their speed and how fast they can attack!