What’s The Fastest Animal In The World?

What makes them so speedy? 🏃‍♀️💨

cheetah and bird

Who’s the fastest animal in the world? You probably won’t be surprised to learn that the cheetah is the fastest land mammal. They can reach speeds of 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds.

But which other animals make the list for speedy creatures? And who’s the fastest animal ever, on land, by air or by sea?

Here’s a list of six animals who can move super fast (even faster than your car!), including the fastest animal in the world — plus some honorable mentions.

Fastest land animals in the world


Average fastest speed: 70 mph

Why they’re so fast: Cheetahs are built for speed, with their small heads, long legs and slender bodies, similar to one of the fastest dogs, the greyhound.

Cheetahs also have a double-suspension gait, which means all four paws are off the ground at once, both when contracted and expanded. For reference, horses and greyhounds also have this type of gait, whereas most dogs have a single-suspension gait.

American antelope (or pronghorn)

Average fastest speed: 55 mph

Why they’re so fast: American antelopes are the fastest animals over long distances, while cheetahs are the fastest over short sprints. They have big lungs and a lot of hemoglobin (which is a protein that carries oxygen) in their blood that allows plenty of oxygen to circulate and help their muscles. They likely evolved to be so fast to outrun predators who are now extinct, like American cheetahs.

Fastest sea animals in the world

Black marlin

Average fastest speed: 80 mph

Why they’re so fast: Black marlins have sleek bodies with long, thin fins. Their bills (the upper part of their jaw that sticks out) possibly help reduce water resistance.


Average fastest speed: 67 mph

Why they’re so fast: Sailfish’s bodies are built to be hydrodynamic (which means they move through water easily). To help them swim fast, they can even fold down their dorsal fins (the sail-like fin on their backs) along with some of their other fins to reduce resistance.

Fastest animals in the world who fly

Peregrine falcon

Average fastest speed: 242 mph (diving speed), 40 to 60 mph (flying speed)

Why they’re so fast: With a diving speed of over 200 mph, peregrine falcons are not only the fastest birds, but the fastest animals in the world. They have large keels (breastbones), which allow for more muscle and greater power when flying. These birds also have pointed, curved wings and stiff feathers that reduce resistance. Peregrine falcons also have very efficient circulatory and respiratory systems, allowing extra oxygen to flow to their muscles.

Golden eagle

Average fastest speed: 200 mph (diving speed), 28 to 32 mph (flying speed)

Why they’re so fast: Golden eagles have a large wingspan — around 6 to 7 feet wide — that gives them tons of power when flying.

Some runners-up that are also super fast include:

  • Whitethroated needletail (105 mph)
  • Eurasian hobby (100 mph)
  • Mexican free-tailed bat (100 mph)
  • Frigatebird (95 mph)
  • Swordfish (60 mph)
  • Quarter horse (55 mph)
  • Springbok (50 mph)
  • Thompson’s gazelle (50 mph)
  • Blue wildebeest (50 mph)
  • Lion (50 mph)
  • Blackbuck (50 mph)
  • Brown hare (48 mph)
  • Greyhound (46 mph)
  • Kangaroo (44 mph)
  • African wild dog (44 mph)

For even more wild animal facts, take a look at these articles: