Who doesn’t love a good animal race? Here we count down the 10 fastest land animals on the planet. You might be surprised by some of the contenders! From the lightning-quick pronghorn antelope to fleet-footed cheetahs, these creatures can outrun just about anything else on four legs. So get ready to be wowed by their speed – fasten your seat belt and let’s go!
10. African Wild Dog
The African Wild Dog has extremely strong legs, which are muscular and well adapted for running at high speeds. Its jaw is very powerful so it can pull prey apart to eat it. To reach high speeds, the dog’s head needs to be low to the ground so its eyes don’t get obstructed by tall grass. It also uses its tail like a rudder for steering and turning corners while running at speed.
These land animals can run long distances in short times and can reach speeds of over 45 miles per hour (72 km/h). Their stamina is high, allowing them to keep running without getting tired. However, because of their large prey sizes, hunting is often done by starving the dogs until they are almost desperate enough to attack anything.
9. Gray Wolf
The Gray wolf has relatively short legs for its size. However, it can still run long distances due to its stamina and good cardiovascular system. Wolves have powerful muscles in their legs, which they use to increase their stride length while running. They are able to reach speeds of over 37 miles per hour (60 km/h) for short periods of time.
The Gray wolf hunts by chasing prey until it is exhausted or unable to run anymore and can even pursue animals on rugged mountain terrain. They are able to capture prey much larger than themselves, even elk which can weigh up to 200 pounds (91 kg).
The lion is known for its power and strength rather than speed. However, these land animals are still very fast considering their size, being able to run long distances during short bursts of speed. A lion can reach speeds of over 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) when in pursuit. They are also able to jump at great lengths and can land on their prey’s back. This gives them the ability to constrict it with their front limbs.
The lion hunts by stalking its prey quietly until it gets close enough to ambush it. It will also chase prey shortly but then begin to charge at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour (80 km/h). Once the lion catches its prey, it will quickly kill it by suffocating it or breaking its neck.
Elk are large deer that can reach speeds over 35 miles per hour (56 km/h) over short distances. They are well adapted to running long distances quickly, with their powerful muscles and cardiovascular system which allows them to store more oxygen in their blood cells. Elk have good vision, hearing, and sense of smell which all helps towards hunting prey successfully.
Elk are herbivores so they eat mainly grasses but also other plants such as leaves and berries. During the mating season in early autumn, male elk gather in groups called ‘bugles’ to attract a mate. The female elk will then choose one of them by staying with him for a week or two before moving on to another male.
The Elk is hunted mainly by wolves but cougars can attack it from the side and get it down. However, elk can sometimes fight off wolves by charging at them so they run away, which allows the elk to escape.
The Wildebeest is a large antelope that lives in herds of hundreds or even thousands in dry grasslands in Africa. They are fast runners with sharp eyesight to help them spot predators from far away. Wildebeest can run over 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) and can keep that speed for about a minute before they need time to recover.
The Wildebeest is hunted by lions and other large four-legged carnivores such as the Cheetah and Hyena. They will usually run in a group and make loud noises to scare predators away. Wildebeest calves are vulnerable to attacks from lions. However, the adult herds will usually keep the younger ones safe by surrounding them.
5. Thomson’s Gazelle
Thomson’s Gazelle is a small African antelope that can reach speeds of over 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) and can keep that speed for several minutes. They have long, slender legs which help them run quickly. They also have large nostrils to help them get more oxygen into their lungs during exercise so they can keep running.
Thomson’s Gazelle live in groups of around 100 members where they graze on grasses and plants. Thomson’s Gazelle are hunted mainly by other land animals like cheetahs. Lions, leopards, and wild dogs can also prey on them.
Zebras are a type of zebra with black and white stripes which protect them from predators successfully as they can be hard to see in tall grasses where they often feed on grasses and plants. Zebras can run at speeds of 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) for a short while before they need to slow down or stop to catch their breath.
Zebra live in large herds which sometimes consist of over 100 members, especially when there is a lack of water in the area. The zebra is hunted mainly by the lion but leopards, cheetahs, and wild dogs can also prey on them.
The springbok is a medium-sized gazelle that lives in open grassland areas of Africa. It has long legs which makes it able to run quickly around 50 miles per hour (80 km/h). It can keep that speed for about a minute before slowing down.
Springbok usually live in herds of over 100 members and when they run away from predators, they try to zigzag in order to avoid them more easily. Springbok are hunted mainly by the cheetah but leopards, lions, and wild dogs can prey on them as well.
2. Pronghorn Antelope
The Pronghorn is one of the fastest land mammals in the world, being able to run at speeds of over 60 miles per hour (96 km/h) for long periods of time. They have very good eyesight which allows them to see predators up to half a mile away so they can flee quickly.
Pronghorn mainly eat grasses and plants but will also feed on leaves, fruits, and berries. They live in herds of 10 to 20 members with a single male leading the group, who is popular among the females. The Pronghorn is hunted mainly by the wolf but cougars can catch them from behind using their speed to charge at prey and knock it off balance before making the kill.
The cheetah is well known for its speed, which is often cited as the fastest among land animals. This speed allows it to outrun many other predators in Africa. The cheetahs are very agile and can change direction very quickly. Cheetahs are also good swimmers due to their streamlined bodies, which helps them to swim at high speeds.
A cheetah can run extremely fast, reaching speeds of over 60 miles per hour (96 km/h). This speed is mostly used to catch prey by accelerating quickly and running it down. However, this huge speed also means that the cheetah’s body shape needs to be aerodynamic so as to avoid being slowed down.
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