Weird Nature

The Fastest Animals in the World 

Ranker Science
Updated May 10, 2019 28.8k views 15 items

What is the fastest animal on Earth? To answer that question, you have to be more specific. Are you talking about running on the ground, diving in the air in free fall, flapping through the air, or swimming through the water? Also, you might want to judge speed based on a creature's body size and how many body lengths it can achieve per second. This list includes the fastest birds, land mammals, fish, and even insects. You probably learned that the fastest animal on land is the cheetah, which is arguably correct... at least over short distances. But when you compare its top speed to that of a diving peregrine falcon or a black marlin in water, the cheetah's reputation for being the "fastest animal on Earth" seems a bit undeserved.

Take a look at our list of speedy critters that can all fly, swim or run circles around you. Some of them may surprise you.
Cheetah is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Fastest Animals in the World
Photo: Charles J Sharp/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0
The cheetah is the fastest animal on land in the world and can reach speeds of up to 61 mph. They are sprinters and can ramp up their speeds four times faster than human beings can.

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Thomson's Gazelle is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Fastest Animals in the World
Photo: Yathin S Krishnappa/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0
The good news for the Thomson's gazelle is that it can reach speeds of up to 50 mph. The bad news is that it is the favorite prey of the cheetah, which can run even faster.
Peregrine Falcon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Fastest Animals in the World
Photo: Juan Lacruz/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0
The peregrine falcon is capable of speeds of up to 200 mph during a dive. It is the fastest animal on the planet while diving.

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Hare is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Fastest Animals in the World
Photo: Jakub Hałun/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0
The little brown hare can hop, hop, hop its way to up to 47 mph. It may be one of the smallest animals on this list, but it can outrun most of its predators.