Animals are truly amazing creatures, and many of them can move at incredible speeds. Many of the world's fastest land animals need their impressive speed to catch prey while other species of animals need the ability to run fast to try to escape predators. The fastest land animals on Earth are the cheetah, pronghorn antelope, lion, gazelle, wildebeest and springbok antelope.
Cheetahs are carnivores, which means they need to be fast enough to catch their prey. Two animals on which cheetahs prey are gazelles and antelopes, which are both very fast animals, but not usually fast enough to outrun this agile predator. The cheetah is able to run 70 miles per hour, which is the fastest of any land animal in existence. At this speed, a cheetah could keep pace with many of today's automobiles. The next time you are speeding along a highway, imagine that a cheetah could likely keep up with you. The cheetah is designed with a small head, sleek body and long legs. This aerodynamic shape helps them to run at impressive speeds.
The pronghorn antelope is another quick creature with running speeds of 61 miles per hour. Unfortunately, this speed is often not fast enough to keep cheetahs away. The antelope is one of the cheetah's favourite meals, and with the cheetah's ability to run 9 miles per hour faster than the antelope, the cheetah frequently wins the race.
Lion and Gazelle
Two animals in a four-way tie for third place are the lion and gazelle. Both of these awesome animals can run at speeds of 50 miles per hour. Lions are carnivores, so their fast speeds often win them dinner. The gazelle is an herbivore, but its ability to run fast can often hold off dangerous carnivores. The only carnivorous land animal faster than the lion is the cheetah.
Wildebeest and Springbok Antelope
The wildebeest and springbok antelope are two herbivores that tie for third place for the fastest land animal in the world. Like the lion and gazelle, these two animals can run to speeds of 50 miles per hour. The springbok can also leap as far as 10 meters with long, lean legs resembling that of a deer. The wildebeest, also called water buffalo, is a large type of antelope. Both of these animals use their quick speed to outrun hungry predators.
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