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The fastest animals – on land, in water and in the air

The fastest animals Top 10

Some time ago, we prepared the largest list of the world’s fastest animals, which we have gradually added to. Today we present the fastest animals according to the environment in which they live. We have divided them into aquatic, terrestrial and aerial animals. Let’s get to know the fastest animals in the world.

The fastest animals in the air

It is probably obvious to everyone that birds rule the skies. The air is their element, so we would be surprised if they were not the fastest fliers. And indeed they are. However, it is worth knowing that the fastest insects beat most birds and the only flying mammal can also fly fast.


NoAnimalTop Speed [km/h]Top speed [mph]Group
1Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)389242bird
2Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)320199bird
3Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus)209130bird
4Common Swift (Apus apus)171106bird
5Eurasian hobby (Falco subbuteo)160100bird
7Rock dove / rock pigeon (Columba livia)14992.5bird
8Spur-winged goose (Plectropterus gambensis)14288bird
9Horse fly14087insect
10Grey-headed albatross (Thalassarche chrysostoma)12779bird
11Moth Dark sword-grass (Agrotis ipsilon)11069insect
12Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna)9861bird
13Free-tailed bat9760mammal



The fastest animals in water

Water is not only the kingdom of fish, it is also home to mammals, reptiles, amphibians and molluscs. However, if you expected fish to be the fastest in the water, you would be right. Interestingly, if you look at the table below, you can see something unusual – the fastest fish, despite the resistance of the water, reach a higher speed in the water than the fastest land animals! Our favorite synonym for speed – the cheetah – would lose the race with…. fish 🙂


NoAnimalTop Speed [km/h]Top speed [mph]Group
1Black marlin (Istiompax indica)13081fish
2Indo-Pacific sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus)11068fish
4Swordfish (Xiphias gladius)9760fish
5Wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri)9760fish
6Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares)8050fish
7Striped marlin (Kajikia audax)8050fish
8Shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus)7245fish
9Flying fish7044fish
10Blue shark (Prionace glauca)6943fish
11Common dolphin6540mammal
12Bonefish (Albula vulpes)6440fish
13Killer whale / orca (Orcinus orca)5635mammal
14Dall’s porpoise (Phocoenoides dalli)5534mammal
15Blue whale4830mammal
17California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus)4025mammal
18Leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx)3924mammal
19Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)3522reptile
20Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua)3522bird



The fastest animals on land

Although humans are not the fastest runners in the animal kingdom, which is probably obvious to most of us ;), there is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to long distance running. None of the animals are able to run continuously for distances as long as the best long-distance runners (about 300 km). As we know, Usain Bolt (the fastest man on earth) has a speed of 44.72 km/h (27.79 mph), but this seems small compared to the fastest animals.

NoAnimalTop Speed [km/h]Top speed [mph]Group
1Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)12075mammal
2Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis)10062mammal
3Thomson’s gazelle (Eudorcas thomsonii)9459mammal
4Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana)8955mammal
5Springbok  (Antidorcas marsupialis)8855mammal
6Quarter Horse8855mammal
7Blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus)8050mammal
8Blackbuck  (Antilope cervicapra)8050mammal
9Serval (Leptailurus serval)8050mammal
10Saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica)8050mammal
11Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus)8050mammal
12Caracal (Caracal caracal)8050mammal
13Cougar (Puma concolor)8050mammal
14Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra)8050mammal
16Maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus)7647mammal
17Virginia deer (Odocoileus virginianus)7547mammal
18Dog Greyhound7446mammal
19Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus)7245bird
20Black-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus)7245mammal


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