2. Pronghorn – 60 mph
In North America, the pronghorns are the fastest mammals to move on land with speeds varying from 35 to 60 mph. These animals evolved their superior running abilities to escape from predators like cheetahs along with coyotes and cougars. Unlike their predators, they can maintain their high speeds for longer periods of time.
Pronghorns have adapted to their conditions, and they have large eyes for easier seeing across large areas. In addition, they have hearts, lungs and tracheas that make it easier to consume colossal amounts of oxygen for long periods of time. Pronghorns also have hooves that have cushions underneath that work as shock absorbers as they run. Their bone structure is light, making them very flexible, and they have minimal hair to reduce profuse sweating. Pronghorns are designed for running, but sometimes they can accomplish amazing jumps, especially under immense pressure.
The Lewis and Clark exploration group were the first ones to find and recognize pronghorns in North America. Today, they are found in specific regions in the U.S., including Yellowstone National Park, along with Canada and northern Mexico. Pronghorns belong to a whole species that is not located anywhere else on the planet.
Pronghorns live in wide, open areas, usually in high elevations, and they are known to migrate for very long distances across North America – up to 150 miles. They eat mostly plants, such as grass and cacti, and their natural curiosity gets them into trouble at times, as this can make them quite easy prey for predators.
1. Cheetah – 76 mph
Cheetahs are known for its beautiful spots and fur along with its amazing speed and agility. They are the fastest animals known on land with speeds up to 76 mph. They can go from 0 to 76 mph in just a few seconds. However, they can only maintain this speed for about 1,500 feet. The main reason why cheetahs are so fast is because they have evolved over time to chase animals such as gazelles and antelopes.
Cheetahs try to stalk prey that moves individually or in packs, but the animals are likely to notice the cheetah’s movements and take off running as fast as they can. When this happens, however, the cheetah springs into action, and as they can run faster than their prey, often catch up. Cheetahs mostly live in grassy or open areas like savannas, but sometimes they are found in deserts and mountains.
Over many years, cheetahs have evolved into becoming the earth’s fastest land animals through a series of adaptations. They have large lungs and hearts that are capable of consuming and circulating large amounts of oxygen. Their nostrils are large, their bodies are long and lean and their legs are strong. The tail works like a rudder built on a ship, and the claws are retractable to help the animals run on the ground. Overall, their bodies are more evolved for running than most other land animals.
After they run for very fast distances, however, cheetahs have to cool down from the heat and build up their energy again which can take time. In very hot temperatures, or on very high ground, the situation could become particularly dangerous, allowing them to become prey for other animals.
The Fastest Animals Known in the Wild
There are some animals that are fast and then some that are really fast. Scientists and animal experts have compiled lists to help them find the animals that are the fastest ones on land. Many birds are faster than land mammals, but these two groups cannot be compared. Another obvious fact is that fast mammals vary by size and weight. Some animals are very large and heavy, such as lions and wildebeest, while others are very light and flexible like springbok and hares. Some fast creatures are prey, others are predators and others are combinations of the two. In addition to speed, these animals have other features that help them avoid predators and adapt to their environments, of course. Arctic hares, for instance, have thick fur that allows them to run and hunt in the snow. The springbok have long legs that make it easier to leap high as they run. All of these animals, from African wild dogs to cheetahs have adapted exceptionally well to their environment and have become renowned for their most prized quality — speed.