Running is an ability that most animals possess, but what are the fastest land animals in the world? These amazing land animals that we will see today are born with a great speed that allows them to live easier. Some fastest land animals in the list can catch prey easily while some others can run away from their predators. The thing is that not all four-legged animals are the fastest, so let’s find out what the fastest land animals are with us.
Habitat: North America
Coyote aka American Jackal is one of the fastest land animals that hunt a great variety of prey. Coyote uses their great speed to hunt and devour anything from small mammals to livestock. If hunting large prey, coyote usually works in pairs or small groups. Coyotes also have been known to kill porcupines by using their paws to flip the rodent on their backs and then attack the soft underbelly. Coyotes are opportunists meaning they are both hunters and scavengers, and they are naturally afraid of humans.
Ostrich owns many champions including the fastest land animals, the fastest bird on land, the largest living birds, and animals with the largest eggs. These flightless birds can run for a long time from the speed of 55km/h to 70km/h. When threatened, the ostrich will either hide by lying flat against the ground or run away. If cornered, the bird will attack with a kick from its powerful legs with claws. Ostriches mainly feed on seeds, shrubs, grass, fruit, and flowers as well insects like locusts. Their main predators are cheetahs, lions, leopards, African hunting dogs, and spotted hyenas.
8African Wild Dog
Habitat: Sub-Saharan Africa
These are the hunters in the wild that can run at the speed of 66 kilometers per hour for up to 10 to 60 minutes. The average chase of African Wild Dog goes as far as 2km when they prey on the animals. If these dogs prey on large animals, they repeatedly bite on their legs, belly, and rump until their prey stops running. Not to mention that they have different strategies for different types of prey, this type of wild dog is one dangerous predator in the savanna.
Habitat: North America, Eastern Asia
Looks large in size, elk is among the fastest land animals and the second largest species of deer. With a speed of 72 kilometers per hour, elks can outrun their main predators like gray wolves, coyotes, and dogs. Elks are one special species that have lived in many types of habitats. These deer have learned how to survive with different food, weather, cover, and neighbors. Two subspecies of elk have gone extinct, and their current population is about 68,000.
Greyhound is the fastest breed of dog that has been bred by humans for coursing game and racing. This dog breed is generally docile, lazy, easy-going, and calm, but they can be aloof and indifferent to strangers. The breed is gentle and intelligent with long and powerful legs, a deep chest, a flexible spine, and a slim build. Also, they are smooth-coated dogs characterized by swiftness and keen sight. Greyhound is also a popular family pet for years, and they are also very loyal.
There are two species of wildebeests including black wildebeest and blue wildebeest, and both of them are called Gnus. Some people might think wildebeests belong to the oxen family, but they are actually in a genus of antelopes. Both wildebeest species are exceptionally fast, and at long distances. With such great speed, they sometimes can get away from dangerous predators such as lions, hyenas, leopards, and crocodiles. The trick to defend themselves is to run large herds, and that works most of the time.
Origin: United States
Quarter horses are not only one of the fastest land animals but also the largest horse breed in the world. They got the name from the ability to outdistance other horse breeds in races of a quarter mile or less. This horse breed has two main body types including stock type and hunter or racing type. A stock horse is well-suited for working with livestock, particularly cattle. As for the hunter type, they are taller and larger which makes them ideal for racing. Quarter horses are best known as show horses, race horses, ranch horses, reining and cutting horses, and more.
Origin: Southern & Southwestern Africa
Springbok is not only gifted with the ability to run very fast but also to jump very high as well. As they run, they can leap up to 4 meters through the air and jump up to 15 meters in length. That is not all, springbok can also make sharp turns when running as well. The only weakness of springbok is no different from cheetahs, they don’t have great endurance over long distances.
These slender antelopes are also the national symbol of South Africa, but people often hunt them a lot. Springboks are hunted as a game throughout Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa due to their attractive coats. The good thing is that springbok is not an endangered species at all, and their population nowadays is estimated to be around 2,000,000 – 2,500,000.
Origin: North America
Pronghorn Antelope or American Antelope is the second fastest land animal in the world. This antelope species have a large heart and lungs which sustain lightning speed, less fast but longer than the cheetah. That is a total bonus because the cheetah is one of their main predators. The large organs allow them to take in large amounts of air when running so that they can run for their lives safely.
Fun Fact: Pronghorn is actually not an antelope, and not even close to one. Their closing relatives are giraffes and okapi.
Speed: 109.4 – 120.7km/hr
Origin: Southern, North, and East Africa
When it comes to the fastest land animals on earth, the champion undoubtedly goes to the cheetah. Cheetah deserves to be the fastest land animal not only because of its great speed but also its incredible rate of acceleration. A cheetah can go from 0 to 96.6km per hour in less than three seconds, and that is not something any animal can do.
However, cheetah has limited endurance which means it runs with great speed but in a short burst. As a cheetah goes fast, its energy to run lasts only about 60 seconds or so. Cheetahs have good traction due to their semi-retractable claws, and they use their tail to steer at sharp turns. The global population of cheetahs nowadays is only about 7,100 in the wild, their population declines due to habitat loss, poaching, and illegal pet trade.
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