Take a look at some of the world’s fastest animals that break records on land, in air, and underwater.
Top speed – 70mph
Cheetahs are able to get from 0 – 40mph in three strides. They use the power of their back legs to push them off, straightening their tails for balance, and their ridged feet for traction. Their flexible spine curves, rotating the hips so the front and hind legs can overlap and only one foot touches the ground at any point.
In 3 seconds:
Cheetah 70mph – Ferrari 60mph
2. Pronghorn antelope
Top speed – 55mph
The fastest prey in the world, they are able to sustain their top speed for long distances, unlike other prey animals, meaning they will probably outrun predators in marathon races. They have an unbeatable stamina due to their ability to inhale large amount of oxygen while sprinting by opening its mouth, it’s oversized windpipie passes air down to the lungs at an incredible rate.
3. Tiger beetle
Top speed – 5mph
The fastest insect in the world can run at an incredible rate. Althoug 5mph doesn’t seem like much, comparable to body size, it’s an impressive feat. If the tiger beetle were as large as a human, it would be able to run 800km (500 miles) per hour! That’s as fast as a commercial passenger plane! Unfortunately running at such high speeds has a price, and when moving at their top speed they temporarily lose their sight, when they are moving fast their eyes are unable to take in information and process it as fast. So in times of trouble they have to make a mad dash and hope for the best!
4. Spiny-tailed iguana
Top speed – 22mph
Reptiles are usually thought of as slow movers. But not this guy! The spiny-tailed iguana is the fastest reptile on Earth and can nearly reach the same speed as Usain Bolt. They run so fast by using their back legs to push themselves forward, and their tails are used to steer direction and counterbalance their weight.
5. Peregrine falcon
Top speed – 240mph
Once the falcon spots its prey it will perform a spectacular stoop by beating its wings, moving itself higher in the sky to put more distance between it and its prey. As soon as the falcon is high enough, it will dip its head down and begin to descend. Gliding downwards with its eyes fixed on the target, it aligns itself with its prey. They tuck in their wings, tail, and claws to streamline themselves as much as possible allowing them to reach a diving speed of around 240mph.
They are specially adapted to this as they have two small tubercles in their nostrils, guiding airflow away from the nose allowing them to breathe easy during dives. This method of hunting would fatal to almost all other birds of prey.
Top speed – 68mph
Sailfish are able to tear through the ocean at speeds comparable to jet skies. Their long pointed bills reduce the water resistance and their large mass of white muscle helps them to accelerate fast. Their streamlined bodies help to maintain momentum and speed for long distances.