10 Fastest Animals on Land
10. African Wild Dog – 44 mph
Dogs in general are fast runners, but African wild dogs are much faster than a typical canine, and can reachspeeds of 44 mph when chasing down their prey. Distinguished by their black-and-brown fur, they are known for their fast running speeds and endurance in the wild.
The wild dog is one of the most seriously endangered species in Africa. In the past, the numbers were nearly half a million; today, they are merely a few thousand. At one point, they were spotted all over sub-Sahara Africa except for the jungles and deserts. Human expansion is the main reason why the populations have declined significantly and rapidly, but disease and livestock grazing have also played a role. Botswana and Namibia have the greatest populations on the continent with over 100 dogs living near the Moremi Game Reserve.
Wild dogs are carnivorous nomads that travel to hunt for their food. They usually hunt in groups and cover long distances of area. In small packs, they can take down animals much larger than themselves, such as wildebeest and antelopes. They can also eat many times more than their own body weight. In the past, African wild dogs were found in packs of hundreds, and within this pack, they work collectively to take care of young and old dogs. They also spot their prey and engage in long-distance, high-speed chases across the terrain.
The African Wildlife Foundation is one group that has worked to maintain the populations of these dogs and reduce poaching. They keep track of current sizes and inform the public about wild dog endangerment, and they plan to improve the gene flow and increase the numbers of these fast African animals.
9. Greyhound – 45 mph
Greyhound dogs are distinctively tall, skinny dogs that are renowned for their remarkable speed when compared to other domestic dogs. They have long, lean bodies that make it easier to leap through the air, and small heads and long legs that are more powerful than they look. In Europe and North America, these dogs are often bred for Greyhound racing, which is popular, yet controversial in many circles. In as little as two strides, these dogs can top speeds of 45 mph and in bursts of energy known as sprints, they can run really fast for short periods of time and then often rest for longer periods.
Greyhounds require moderate amounts of exercise but little grooming. The different fur colors include red, white, black or a combination of these shades. These dogs are easy to train and have superior watchdog abilities. The average retirement age for a racer is five years old, and many of these dogs are adopted by loving families after retirement.
The breed is one of the oldest ones on earth, having existed for nearly 10,000 years. Its origins began in the Middle East and have spread to regions in Europe, North America and Australia. In the past, these dogs were used as hunters, which helped to create their exceptional running skills. Their common prey included hares, which are also very fast creatures, and foxes.
Greyhounds are not designed for secluded living, but they still make good, loyal pets. They are runners and sprinters that need regular exercise to maintain their physique. They can run for long distances and long periods of time, making them ideal jogging partners. People allergic to dogs will find few problems with this breed. They do not do well in cold conditions, however, due to their low body fat content.
8. Hare – 50 mph
The Aesop fable called The Tortoise and the Hare has made the hare renowned for its top speed. Most people believe that these animals are rabbits, but they are not. They do, however, belong to the same family and show similar characteristics. They are larger in size when compared to a rabbit and shaped differently with longer ears and longer, stronger legs that make fast running possible. They can run up to 50 mph and leap as high as 10 feet.
In Africa, parts of Asia and North America, hares may live alone or in pairs. There are also white Arctic hares living in the freezing cold regions of the Arctic Circle. Some hare species are also found in the desert, so they are very adaptable animals. Unlike rabbits, they are not domesticated and are more active in the wild. They are often seen boxing each other during breeding seasons in the spring, and they produce their young in nests instead of burrows like their rabbit cousins. Hare babies can see and defend themselves from an early age.
Hares run quickly to escape from predators like wild dogs, birds and humans. In Europe and North America, people catch them to prepare various stews and dishes. Some humans get rid of them to keep the pest numbers down. Hares have large ears designed for hearing in the distance, and they are able to detect the scent of predators, including a human, which make them difficult to catch.
Hares are shy, calm creatures that mainly eat plants, and they have been used in folklore and mythology for thousands of years. Because of their impressive speed, leaping skills and adaptability in the wild, especially in regards to their small size, humans have always been fascinated by the quick creatures.
7. Blackbuck – 50 mph
The blackbuck is a type of horned animal that is almost identical to the springbok; however, the fur for males is black instead of reddish brown, like the springbok. The body type of a blackbuck is light and flexible so that it can run fast for long distances and leap over various objects. The average adult blackbuck can reach speeds of 50 mph.
They usually run to escape from predators like wolves, dogs and jackals. Before their extinction, the Asiatic cheetahs used to hunt blackbucks, too. When they sense danger, the whole herd begins leaping into the air and then galloping away. Along with their leaps and speeds, they use their sharp eyesight to see and avoid danger.
Blackbucks are found on the Indian subcontinent and mostly protected in national parks and sanctuaries. They are grazers that migrate to look for food and water. The herds vary from dozens to thousands of members. Since they prefer grazing on grass, they avoid areas with shrubs and trees.
The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 prevents the hunting of blackbucks, but humans still try to hunt blackbucks for their meat and skin, and some people impose on their land for livestock. In the past, they were also hunted in numerous princely states in India, and for many years, Hindus have used the skins for religious purposes. They connect the blackbuck to the moon god known as Chan-drama, and they claim that the animals bring prosperity wherever they go.
Although natives of the Middle East, blackbucks have now been introduced into parts of North and South America. In 1932, they were first sent to Texas, and they are still found today in brushes and grasslands where they graze freely.
6. Lion – 50 mph
The lion is one of the top predators in Africa, and many people already know of its fierceness, but not about their great speed. Lions are carnivorous hunters that can run up to 50 mph to catch their prey, such as zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, buffaloes and elephants.
They are the biggest cats in existence after tigers, and even though males can weigh as much as 500 pounds, they are still very impressive runners. Hunting activities have significantly reduced the lion populations for decades, and many of these reductions are caused by land conflicts between lions and humans. Now, these great creatures are commonly found in national parks and reserves, however and various reintroduction programs have increased their numbers in these areas including deserts, savannas, grasslands and woodlands.
Lions are social creatures that typically hunt in groups called prides. Females hunt the most, while the males defend the prides from attacks. Lions have great abilities to stalk and kill their prey, but sometimes, the prey, such as an elephant, attacks them in return and end up killing the lions.
There are five subspecies of lions that are distinguished by their geographic location. Most of them are found in the southern and eastern regions of Africa. Hundreds of years ago, they used to roam northern Africa, Asia and Europe, but they are now nonexistent in these areas. They have been known to occupy a wide range of habitats from tall grassy areas to high mountains, and the only places where they have not been found are deserts and rainforests. However, they can survive in very arid environments.