Top 10 List:

fast lion
Lions are ranked 3rd

[more Top-10 Lists]

The fastest land based animal is generally considered to be the Cheetah. Note that this list is for land based animals, so no birds or fish are included in the analysis. The official measured speed of the Cheetah probably underestimates its speed in the wild - when it is chasing its meal there is a lot more motivation to run faster.

If birds were included, a list of the fastest animals would be mostly those - the Peregrine falcon is universally accepted as the fastest animal in the world. It reaches its top speed when in a hunting dive, the stoop, in which it soars to a great height, then dives steeply at high speeds (200+ mph, 322 km/hr). See our fastest birds list. If fish were included, the sail fish (68 mph, see World's Fastest Fish) would be high on this list.

Average Speed v Maximum Speed

The speeds used for the following table are based on measurements recorded over approximately quarter-mile distances. Exceptions are the lion, which was clocked in the act of charging, and the cheetah, which was measured over a 100-yard distance. You may also notice discrepancies between this list and the World's Fastest Mammals which have many of the same animals. This just highlights the difficulties in measuring speed, whether average or maximum speed is recorded, and averaged over what distance.

Many people consider the greyhound to be the second fastest animal. They can reach average race speeds in excess of 18 metres per second (59 feet per second) or 63 kilometers per hour (39 mph), which would place then just outside this top 10. However, at maximum acceleration, a greyhound reaches a full speed of 70 km per hour (43 mph) within the first 30 metres, traveling at almost 20 metres per second for the first 250 metres of a race. The only other animal that can accelerate faster over a short distance is the cheetah, which has been measured to reach speeds of nearly 100 kilometers per hour over 3-4 strides from a standing start.

Animal speed
(mph)
speed
(km/hr)
notes
1. Cheetah 61 98 On June 20, 2012, 11 year old Sarah the cheetah shattered the world record for the standing 100-meter dash, clocking a time of 5.95 seconds. That is an average of 38 miles per hour (61 km/hr). During the run it was radar-timed at a peak speed of 61 miles (98 kilometers) an hour. See a video.
2. Pronghorn antelope 60 97  
3. Lion 50 80  
4. Thomson's gazelle 50 80  
5. Wildebeest 50 80  
6. Springbok 50 80  
7. Quarter horse 47.5 76  
8. Cape hunting dog 45 72  
9. Elk 45 72  
10. Coyote 43 69  

Sources

Other fastest animal lists include:

Slow animals

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Old Comments

  • This is not correct lions can not run that fast, cheetahs can reach 75 mph, and there are a lot of animals in the 60 mph wyou didn't list, like most gazelles. (from jed christensen, Feb 2013)
  • How did u compare the animal to knw the fastest of all? (from Obah prince, Feb 2013)
  • I thought jaguar s d world fastest animal bt am sumhw surprise dat my eyes s unable to find dis jaguar n d top 10 fastest animal list (from Salami fawas, Feb 2013)
  • In the top ten list, you forgot both Emu & Jaguar. I do believe the Australian bird on foot "Emu's" are the second fastest animals in the world. Jaguar's are also faster than Lions. (from Josh, Jan 2013)
  • i want know hiana .  how fast he is ? (from choi  young gin, Jan 2013)
  • I thought that the cheeta was the fastest land animal what's the fastest water animal (from sammy, Jan 2013)
  • I guess the info here considered only the animals on the land (from Tosin, Jan 2013)
  • The Pronghorn Antelope is not the fastest animal in the world. I know this is true. This is because it only goes at a speed of sixty mph (ninety-seven km/hr). Where as the Cheetah goes faster. With speeds of sixty-one mph, the Cheetah would have to be the fastest animal in the world. (from anonymous, Nov 2012)
  • I am confused because they say one type of bird is the fastest animal on earth (from Katherine, Nov 2012)
  • I think they are some animal dat is faster than cheetah.but u have not discovered them. (from Adeboye olumide, Nov 2012)
  • Why do you not time animals such as a car? (frmo Bob The Builder, Nov 2012)
  • Where is usain bolt? (from Nelson, Oct 2012)
  • I think that the pronghorn antelope is the fastest animal ?? (from dan123456, Oct 2012)
  • Where's the greyhound the whippet the 2 fastest dogs in the world? (from derek McNeiLL, Oct 2012)
  • What about the greyhound was faster than cheetah so cheetah is faster or this was written before they didn't know about it? (from mbusi tshuma, Sept 2012)
  • Greyhound 45.5mph FACT (from Paul Roberts, Spet 2012)
  • My son wants to know why zebras aren't in the fastest lol (from Bridgetmcfalls, Sept 2012)
  • Leopard not in the list? I think you need carry out a clear investigation and update.(from Ugbaja david, Sept 2012)
  • What about the sloath a heard it was the fastest ? (from drongan, Aug 2012)
  • I have heard much about the ROCKET RABBIT but i don't see here (from Emmanuel, July 2012)
  • I heard that new land animal has been discovered to be the fastest (from Kayuzee, July 2012)
  • Peregrine falcon is simply d world fastest animal n 1 mor tin wonda y u guys ar undaratn d cheetahs (from Nathaniel akolo samuel, July 2012)
  • Well i will say cheetah is the most fastest land animal @70 mph lol............. (from madamidola darey, July 2012)
  • why are ostriches not on the list? does this mean they are already tree-dwellers with nests just like most of their "those that can fly" kind. This is absolutely wrong.. The title should be renamed to "top 10 fastest mammals". I think your sources and their resources are not updated and still insist on past records... =) (from Pojs, July 2012)
  • From the fact gathered i suggest falcon is the fasted animal in the world (from Otti festus, June 2012)
  • Yes it's true the ostrich, though a bird, is a land-based animal (it can't fly), so it should be included in the list. it goes at 70 km/h (43 mph), so it should be instead of the coyote (from cipnrkorvo, June 2012)
  • I thought beer is the fastest but it depends on the type of beer (from Aleey, May 2012)
  • fastest animal alive is the mantis shrimp (from Rockafela, May 2012)
  • All of you questioning the list are not thinking. First of all I believe the list covers all attributes of speed (I.e acceleration speed, vel, weight) as far as the clouded leopard goes, I wonder if it's a matter of how fast it accelerates or just having enough recorded info being the species is so rare. I've checked multiple sources all lists are comparible to this one; and it sounds correct to me. (May 2012)
  • What about the serval it can run up to 57 mph god (from connor, May 2012)
  • my favorite athelete is Usain Bolt,he is 3 second more in 100 metres in favour of chitah (from sonu, May 2012)
  • The ostrich is left out of every list i have seen and they have been reported to run up to 45 mph so why has the coyote been listed first? (from Jass Ra'joun, April 2012)
  • All you people who think that the grey-hound is not on there is stupid. The Cape Hunting Dog is what they mean by the Grey-hound. (from Peyton Green, April 2012)
  • Why aren't Greyhounds on this list? I heard they were the second fastest animals in the world! :S (from Jessica, April 2012)
  • Why isn't the Clouded Leopard here? Its top speed is 65mph, making it the second fastest here! (from Random Person, April 2012)
  • Sam Whittingham may be the fastest land animal ever recorded. His max spead was clocked at 82.89 mph. He traveled 56.4 miles in an hour time trial. How many birds can maintain that speed for an hour? (from Ryan, April 2012)
  • Um may i say the falcon and eagle are easly faster going up to speeds of 80mph to 120mph while the cheatah is 60 and 70mph (April 2012)
  • The greyhound @45mph is not even on this list. Do your research before making such elementary claims. (from Kent, March 2012)
  • why aren't ostriches on this list? (from Hmancrafter, March 2012)
  • I thought spiders where fast but I'm faster by several lightyears (from Chuck Norris, March 2012)
  • roadrunner?
  • I once thought elephants are the second fastest animal mammal... (from Ebenezer Fiagbedzi (Ghana) Feb 2012)
  • Where is the swift, it can reach 240mph (from Drew Rao, Feb 2012) -
    • these are just the fastest land based animals - for the swift, see the fastest birds list - ed.
  • Wow...I knew cheetahs were fast but that one suprised me LOL (from Ebony mew mew, Feb 2012)
  • What was the position of lizard in the fastest animal of the world? In a documentry it was said to be the fastest (lizard). Even more faster than a lion. (from Ishola Habeeb, Jan 2012)