Top 10 Fastest Animals on the Planet – and Their Speeds


Animal speeds are often hard to capture and calculate. They can depend on a number of factors, such as wind speed, or maneuvering while at speed. But nonetheless, we have a good idea of what the top 10 fastest animals are on earth.

Top 10 Fastest Animals on the planet…

Here’s the list, in reverse order, of the top 10 fastest animals on the planet, of all animals – on land, at sea, and in the air. Or, check out the video below of the same Top 10 Fastest Animals with more videos available on the Ranger Planet YouTube Channel. (Coming Soon).

10. Brown Hare

Starting the list at number ten is the brown hare. The fastest land animal in Europe, it’s capable of reaching speeds of up to 48mph (77km/h).

With these speeds, the brown hare, which is native to Europe, can outrun most of its predators, like foxes, and hunting dogs like the Beagle.

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Ranger Planet

They’re also good at leaping and have really long ears, which they can use to detect the location of predators.

If you see a brown hare in the wild, you may be lucky enough to see it move very quickly!

fastest animals - brown hare

9. Blue Wildebeest

Though they may look like large, hairy bulls, wildebeest are actually more closely related to antelopes and gazelles.

Around 1.5 million blue wildebeest and its five recognized subspecies roam the plains of Africa, most of which wander the Serengeti.

With top speeds of up to 50mph (80km/h) they can outrun many of their common predators.

The wildebeest also has developed a unique method of stampede running; when one senses danger, it will charge straight at the predator in a line formation

blue wildebeest

8. Marlin

The marlin is 8th on the list as it’s an incredibly fast species of fish, so much so that marlin fishing is a popular pastime among those who love to get out on the ocean.

The pacific blue marlin is highly streamlined, and strong, and can reach speeds of up to 55mph (88km/h) and even faster in short bursts.

It uses its long bill like a sword to defend itself from predators, and its speed helps it escape any dangerous situations.

But the marlin is not the fastest fish, we’ll get on to that one shortly.

marlin

7. Pronghorn Antelope

At number 7 on the list, the pronghorn antelope is native to North America and is among the fastest land animals on the planet.

The pronghorn can reach speeds of up to 60mph (97km/h) and covers great distances quickly across open plains and grasslands.

Its long legs help it cover ground quickly, while its sharp senses alert it to any potential danger.

They can also turn quickly and accelerate faster than most other animals.

pronghorn antelope

6. Sailfish

In at 6th position is the sailfish. At 68mph (110km/h) the sailfish is even faster than the marlin. It has a number of characteristics that help it reach such speeds, including its long and slim body, forked tail, and large dorsal fin.

Its bright blue color is also designed to help camouflage it from potential predators.

Despite being smaller than the marlin, the sailfish is the fastest fish in the ocean.

sailfish

5. Cheetah

A surprising entry at number 5. Cheetahs are the fastest land animals and can reach top speeds of up to 80mph (129km/h), they can accelerate at an impressive rate of up to 0-60mph in just 3 seconds.

To achieve such speed, cheetahs have an incredible amount of muscle mass in their back legs, allowing them to quickly accelerate from a standing start.

Moreover, their bodies are designed to be lean and aerodynamic, enabling them to turn quickly in pursuit of their quarry. Their long tails also act as stabilizers when running at full speed.

They can maintain this speed for short bursts of around a third of a mile (500m), but cannot maintain it for long distances.

fastest animals - fastest land animal - cheetah

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4. Spur-Winged Goose

The spur-winged goose is an unlikely candidate for the 4th fastest animal on the planet. But don’t be fooled.

This bird can reach speeds of up to 88mph (142km/h). To achieve such speed, their wingspan is enormous, stretching up to 9 feet wide!

Like the cheetah, the spur-winged goose can maintain its top speed for a short distance. They are most typically observed flying in flocks and can maneuver quickly when needed.

spur winged goose

Now for the top three fastest animals on the planet.

3. Frigate Bird

The frigate bird is another popular bird on this list of the fastest land, air, and sea animals. It can reach a top speed of 95mph (153km/h).

What makes them fast is their wingspan. It stretches an impressive 7 feet wide!

Also, to use that wingspan to their advantage, frigate birds often take advantage of the wind current to gain speeds up to 95 mph.

The frigate bird is a seabird, typically spotted near coastlines, oceans, and other large bodies of water.

fastest animals on the planet - frigate bird

2. White-Throated Needletail

The second fastest animal on the planet is the white-throated needle.

With a speed of 106mph (171km/h) in just normal horizontal flight alone, it’s an impressive bird.

Moreover, they can achieve this speed with the help of their long wings, which allow them to use the wind more effectively and stay in high-speed flight for longer periods.

White-throated needletails are migratory birds that travel from Asia to Australia during winter, usually at night and high above the ground.

white-throated needletail

image source: Roland Speck, CC BY 2.0

1. Peregrin Falcon

And here we are, the Peregrin Falcon, the fastest animal on the planet.

With an incredible diving speed capability of 200mph (322km/h). Where even its normal in-flight cruising speed alone can reach speeds of up to 56mph (90km/h).

Also, when diving, it tucks its wings almost completely against its body, reducing air resistance and allowing it to reach these incredible speeds.

So there you have it, the top ten fastest animals for land, sea, and air on the entire planet. While some of them can’t maintain their top speeds for very long distances, they are still incredibly impressive when they do reach their maximum velocity.

fastest animal on the planet - peregrine falcon

Top 10 fastest animals on the planet – Summary table

Here’s a quick reference table so you can see the full list in comparison with each other…

Animalmphkm/h
Brown Hare4877
Blue Wildebeest5080
Marlin5588
Pronghorn Antelope6097
Sailfish68110
Cheetah80129
Spur-Winged Goose88142
Frigate Bird95153
White-Throated Needltail106171
Peregrine Falcon200322

Michael

A Certified Ecologist and an Entomologist, Michael has been interested in all aspects of Nature for many years. It's only now he's decided, along with his partner Fran, to begin documenting what he knows.

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