Animals play a major role in the life cycle of the nature. They are the one who keep the balance of the nature intact. Animals had been man’s ally in survival since the beginning of time. The humans have used them as pets for their loyalty, as a medium for transport for their speed and in battles and war for their strength. Before the time of machines and technology, animals like horses, elephants, camels, etc. were used for carrying goods and people from one place to another. The speed of the animal is one of the major factors which decides its capability and chances to survive in the wilderness. It is essential for catching prey and to save one self from becoming a prey. Here is a list of some of the fastest animals in the world.
Renowned for its beauty and strength, as the king of the jungle, it can run at a maximum speed of 80kmph (50mph). It is a family animal and lives in groups of 15, called prides. The pride has mostly female members and only two or three males. Lions feed on animals such as hares, birds, buffalo, zebra, etc. Besides its speed, it is also one of the strongest animals in the world, which are even found hunting elephant, in case of scarcity of food. They are large in size with a heavy head, covered with thick hair, and live for 10-14 years in the wild. Lions are found in Africa and a few in Gir Forest in India. Their population has seen a major decline of about 40-50% in the last two decades, and considered as vulnerable species.
Wildebeest belongs to the family called Bovidae, which includes goats, cattle, sheep, antelopes and some other horned animals. This species can be broadly classified into two types, the blue wildebeest and the black wildebeest. Both are Very fast runners which can run at a maximum speed of 80kmph (50mph). The major difference between the two is their curvature of their horn and the colour of their skin. Wildebeest is strictly herbivorous animal, largely feeding on short grass and cannot withstand without water for more than few days. They prefer to live in grassy plains and open woodlands, native to southern and eastern parts of Africa. They travel in large herds actively grazing day and night. Their population has grown from 250,000 to 1.5 million in last 50 years.
Springbok is known to be the most abundant antelope in the western and central parts of South Africa. They are mostly found in open, treeless pains of southern Africa. Springbok has a very unique structure on its back. It displays a patch of white hair on its back when excited. The hairs are normally hidden beneath the skin, and get erected, only when they do a specific type of sprinting known as pronking. They can run at a maximum speed of 88kmph (55mph). While running they can take sharp turns and long jumps and can run only for short distance.
This fish gets its name from its long, flat, sword-like bill which is used to hunt its prey. It is a large marine fish found in Indian, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The structure of the fish helps it attain high speed, a maximum of 97kmph (60mph). It is an important food fish, which is prominently served in Japan. They are 3m in length, live up to 4-5 years and are found to swim alone. Initially, when hatched the fish has teeth but no sword, eventually the teeth disappear and upper jaws lengthen into sword. Swordfish is among the top predators of the sea, which attack other fish slashing them apart with their sharp bill.
Besides its capability of running fast, pronghorn can run for miles. They are known to be the fastest animal in North-America, which can run at a maximum speed of 88.5kmph (55mph). Like swordfish, it also has got its name due to the shape of its horns, which split to for forward pointing prongs. Some of it may have horn more than a foot long. They feed on sagebrush, grass and other vegetation. The pronghorn has large heart, lungs and windpipe which help them to breathe large amounts of air while running. It can live a life of around 10 years, and are only found in North-America.
5. Sail Fish
Sail Fish also take name from their structure, as they have large dorsal fin that stretches almost over its entire body, known as sail and is much higher compared to its body. It also has a bill, which resembles to that of a swordfish, but the length of the bill is relatively shorter. The fish keep its sail down when swimming but it may raise it when it feels threatened eventually making it appear bigger than it really is. They are found on surface of the warm and temperate sea waters, feeding on schools of small fish. The Sailfish can swim at a speed of 101.19kmph (67.85mph). The colour of the fish varies largely blue to grey, and sometimes brown.
Cheetah is the fastest land animal on earth, which can run at a speed of 112-120kmph (70-75mph). It can accelerate to a speed of 100kmph in just three seconds, which cannot be achieved even by most of the automobiles. Cheetah spends most of its time in air when it is running at its maximum speed. While running try to catch prey they can take very sharp turns, however they cannot run for more than a minute. It prefers to hunt during day to avoid competition from larger animals like hyenas and lions. The chases of cheetah last only for 20-60 seconds and only half of it is successful. The population of cheetah has decreased 30% in last 20 years and now its habitat is only 25% of its former size.
Marlins are one of the largest fish in the world and are strikingly beautiful. They are found in warm waters of the Atlantic Pacific and Indian Oceans, and tend to follow the warm water for even thousands of miles. The black marlin has been recorded to swim at 130kmph (80mph), which makes it the fastest fish all over the world. The average size of the fish is nearly 3.4 meters long and can weigh up to 100 to 200 kilograms. It can be easily recognized of all the fishes because of its unique body structure, having a dorsal fin, a long pronounced bill coloured cobalt blue on top and silvery white below.
2. White-throated Needletail
It belongs to a family of bird known as Swift, and is also known as Spine-tailed Swift or Needle-tailed Swift. It mostly spends its life in air and feeds on the insects it catches in its flight. It is also known to be the bird with fastest speed in flapping flight, which can reach speed up to 170kmph (10mph). They are black in colour except the white throat and white under tail, and are found in eastern and northern Australia.
1. Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon is renowned to be the fastest animal on earth, which has been recorded to fly at a maximum speed of 389kmph (242mph). The bird acquires its maximum speed when it dives steeply from a great height to hunt its prey. However in its level flight, it is not faster than White-throated Needletail. It can survive in many habitats, therefore they are found everywhere on earth except the cold regions. It is also known to be the most widely distributed species in the world.