Top 10 Animals whose game is SPEED

Top 10 Animals whose game is SPEED

In the wild, there is a constant struggle for food. Predators run for food and the food runs for its life. The sprint is the ultimate test of survival. It is a premium ability to be fast, be it in the waters, in air or on the land. The organisms which aren’t fast enough need to have some special abilities to survive. These are the world’s top 10 fastest animals who resort to speed for their existence.


Dubbed as ‘The King of the Jungle’, this big cat is one of the most feared predators. It can reach to the speeds of 50 mph or 80.5 kmph while chasing its prey. However, this speed can be maintained only for a short distance after which its muscles heat up significantly. This social feline lives in large groups of up to 40 members and they hunt in a group. However, they have disappeared in large numbers recently and have been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red Book.

Fun Fact – The word for lion in the African Bantu language is ‘simba’. Interestingly, it is similar to the Sanskrit word ‘simba’ with the same meaning despite the fact that the two languages have no connection at all!


This herbivorous animal, native to south and east Africa, can achieve speeds as high as 50 mph or 80.5 kmph. This animal has strong legs and shoulder muscles and can grow as tall as 1.3 metres. These factors contribute to its speed. It uses its speed to save itself from predators. This animal lives in groups. It migrates towards wetlands in search of grass in the dry season through rivers that have significant crocodile population. One of its closest relatives is the black wildebeest.

Fun Fact – A possible evidence of the association of this animal with the ancient Egyptians have been found in the form of a carving depicting an animal similar to a blue wildebeest in Nekhen, the religious capital of southern Egypt!


The quarter horse is a racing breed of horses. They can attain the speed of 55 mph or 87.5 kmph. They are famed to be one of the oldest horse species to ever live in the continent of North America. The name quarter horse comes from the fact that the horse was very successful in running on quarter-mile courses in the 17th century. It can’t maintain its speed for a long time. It has a compact body that provides it the speed in the racing tracks.

Fun Fact – World’s largest breed registry is the American Quarter Horse Association. When counted in 2014, they had about 3 million horses registered!


The pronghorn antelope can run as fast as 61 mph or 98 kmph. This animal is found in the continent of North America. The strong legs and shoulders of this animal allow it to maintain this speed for long distances. This grass-eating mammal gets its name from its sharp-arching horns. Actually, it is not an antelope and is a closer relative of the giraffe.

Fun Fact- The American Society of Mammologists uses the pronghorn antelope as their symbol!


Sailfish, the fastest animal in the water, can achieve speeds of 70 mph or 112.6 kmph. It has very large dorsal fins which look like a sail, thus giving it this name. This fish eats another smaller fish. Its sail remains folded most of the times, except at the times of hunting. In addition to its amazing speed, sailfish is also an excellent jumper.

Fun Fact – Generally, sailfish spends most of its life on the surface of oceans but can also dive as deep as 350 metres in the search of prey!


If there was a race to happen on land, the cheetah would be at number one. It can run as fast as 75 mph or 120.7 kmph. The factors that help it to reach these speeds is its flexible body and long stride. However, it too can’t hold on to these speeds over long distances. It has a long tail that helps it to steer while hunting. Today, their populations have been reduced and are only found in Africa and central Iran. It has been listed Vulnerable on the IUCN Red Book.

Fun Fact – Cheetahs have black lines on either side of their nose called tear lines. These lines keep the sun away from the animal’s eyes while it hunts!


Spur-winged goose can fly with the speeds of 88 mph or 141.6 kmph. Native to South Africa, they are the largest bird in the goose family. They can weigh up to 8 kg. They are generally found in swamps, at riverbanks and in ponds. The spur-winged goose is a social bird and can be a part of a flock containing as many as 50 members. It generally eats plant material but sometimes feeds on insects and small fish too.

Fun Fact – The spur-winged goose eats a beetle called the blister beetle. This beetle contains a poison which doesn’t affect the bird but is harmful for anyone who consumes the bird!


At number three in this list is a swift called the white-throated needletail. This bird can fly with the speeds of 105 mph or 169 kmph. It is a migratory bird and travels long distances in different seasons. It breeds in Central Asia and the southern parts of Siberia and winters in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Australia. These birds are highly aerial and do not like coming to the ground. They generally eat small, flying insects.

Fun Fact – White-throated needletails are a very rare sight in Western Europe. In 2013, one was seen in Great Britain after a long gap of 22 years. It later died by flying into a wind turbine and its body was sent to a museum!


Golden eagles are large birds of prey. They can achieve the speeds of 200 mph or 322 kmph while it dives for its prey after soaring to a great altitude. These birds can be found in almost all of northern hemisphere and occur in rugged terrain like mountains or cliffs. They have large and sharp talons which, combined with their amazing diving speed, helps them snatch prey. They primarily feed on small animals like hares, reptiles etc. and sometimes even snatch fishes from the water.

Fun Fact – The Golden Eagle is famed to be a great hunter. Due to this fact, it had great reverence in several ancient tribes and also acted as a totem for some. The national flag of Mexico shows a golden eagle holding a snake in its talons!


The Peregrine Falcon is famed to be the fastest organism on the planet. It flies with the speeds of 240 mph or 386 kmph while diving. It is a carnivorous bird and generally eats other birds or small land animals. They are migratory birds and are found almost anywhere on the planet except the polar regions, very high mountains and most of the rainforest. New Zealand is the only major ice-free landmass where this bird is not found.

Fun Fact – There is only one land-based species of birds that is found in a larger geographical area than the peregrine falcon and it is the rock pigeon. However, unlike the falcon, it doesn’t occur naturally in all these areas and was introduced by humans in many places. The rock pigeon now supports many populations of the falcon as the peregrine falcons feed on them!

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