Kingdom Animalia or the animal kingdom, is a broad kingdom containing many species belonging to different classes. You may have wondered, just like myself, from time to time just what great speed means in the animal world? Mostly, it aids the process of hunting for prey, but that does not always have to be the case. Birds, fish, reptiles, insects and mammals all feature species members who can really move, but the question of this blog is which among them is fastest?
It took a awhile to put this list together but I did. This list is broken down into categories, not too specific but just enough so there’s some division.
Land Animal: Cheetahs
The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus for you science people) is the “smallest” of the large-sized felines inhabiting most of Africa and parts of the Middle East. They are the only big-bat with non-retractable claws and pads that, by their scope, disallow gripping (therefore cheetahs cannot climb vertical trees, although they are generally capable of reaching easily accessible branches). But back to the blog, you see the cheetah, achieves by far the fastest land speed of any living animal between 112 and 120 km/h (70 and 75 mph) in short bursts covering distances up to 500 m (1,600 ft), and has the ability to accelerate from 0 to over 100 km/h (62 mph) in just three seconds. See for yourself below>
Sailfish are two species of fish in the Genus Istiophorus (again, for you science people), living in warmer sections of all the oceans of the world. They are mainly blue to gray in color and have a characteristic erectile dorsal fin known as a sail, which often stretches the entire length of the back. Another notable characteristic is the elongated bill, resembling that of the swordfish and other marlins.
Both species of sailfish grow quickly, reaching 1.2–1.5 metres (3 ft 10 in–4 ft 10 in) in length in a single year, and feed on the surface or at mid-depths on smaller forage fish and squid. The reason why they’re on this list is because these fish have been clocked at speeds of up to 110 kilometres per hour (68 mph), which is the highest speed reliably reported in a fish. Ironically, sailfish do not grow to more than 3 metres (9.8 ft) in length and rarely weigh over 90 kilograms (200 lb).
Watch it hunt below>
Personal favorite….Reptile: Black Spiny-tailed Iguana and The Black Mamba
Yes, there are two here, why? Well mainly because their speed is rather close in distance and what the hell, its my blog.
The Guinness Book of World Records lists the running speed of the this particular lizard species at 21.7 mph or 34.9 km/h making it the world’s fastest lizard. The Black Spiny-tailed Iguana or Black Iguana or Black Ctenosaur (Ctenosaura similis), is a lizard that’s native to Mexico and Central America and has actually been introduced and is now running rampant as a feral population within Florida.
This speed-demon of the reptile world or at least one of them, can reach a length of up to approximately 5 feet for males, and just over 3 feet for females. They are diurnal (active during the daylight hours) and extremely fast moving. Not only do they use their incredible speed to escape predators but they can also lash out with their tails and bite if cornered.
Watch this random guy talk about them here>
Now, there are all kinds of snakes in the world some poison some long and others very fast. Is there a snake that is long, poisonous and very fast? That snake lives in a variety of climates ranging from savanna, woodlands, rocky slopes, dense forests and even humid swamps of Africa. Even though this snake uses its speed to escape threats, not to hunt prey. If I was smart, I would never want to cross it’s path. Good thing I’m not all that smart.
The black mamba is the longest venomous snake in Africa, averaging around 2.5 meters (8.2 ft), and sometimes growing up to 4.3 meters (14 ft). Its name is derived from the black coloration inside the mouth; the actual color of the skin varies, from dull yellowish-green to a gun-metal gray. It is the fastest snake in the world, capable of moving at 4.5 to 5.4 metres per second (16–20 km/h, 10–12 mph).
Watch it kill a baby bird, sad but fascinating>
Fastest in the world: The Peregrine Falcon
The Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and “moustache”. The Peregrine is known for its speed, reaching over 325 km/h (202 mph) during its characteristic hunting stoop, making it the fastest member of the animal kingdom.
The Peregrine’s breeding range includes land regions from the Arctic tundra to the tropics. It can be found nearly everywhere on Earth, except extreme polar regions, very high mountains, and most tropical rainforests; the only major ice-free landmass from which it is entirely absent is New Zealand. This also makes it the world’s fastest bird. >
WAIT!!! I almost forgot another personal favorite.
Fastest Insect: Tiger Beetle
There are many bigger and stronger beetles than the tiger beetle. What really sets the tiger beetle apart from other beetles is its speed. In the insect world, nothing runs faster on the ground. So, just how fast do these little monsters run? Cole Gilbert, a professor of entomology at Cornel, worked with some American tiger beetles that ran about 1.2 mph or .53 meters per second. That may not sound very fast, until you take into account the scale of the insect, but let’s compare the tiger beetle’s relative speed to one that of the fastest human in the world.
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. During the 100 meter dash in 2010, he reached the astonishing top speed of 12.27 m/s or 44.17 km/hr (27.3 mph). Since Bolt is 1.96 metres (6 ft 5 in) tall, at top speed he covered over 6 times his body length every second! Pretty impressive! But now let’s compare Bolt’s relative speed to that of Dr. Gilbert’s tiger beetle.
The species of tiger beetle that Gilbert’s studied was 10 millimeters long, not quite half an inch. At top speed, the beetle was moving 1.2 mph or .53 meters a second. That means the little beetle is ripping along at 53 body lengths a second, almost 9 times as fast as Bolt in relative terms.
Watch this creepy guy with a net try to catch one>
But anyway, the relative speed of a human-sized tiger beetle running at 53 bl/s would over 240 mph! Imagine a 200-pound tiger chasing you that could run faster than Dale Earnhardt’s race car! Ok and now….Your Thoughts?