Top Ten Fastest Mammals

#1 - Cheetah (71mph / 114kmh)

CheetahA member of the cat family, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) leads the way as the world's fastest mammal. Capable of speeds between 70-75 miles per hour, the cheetah can run at this speed for up to 1,500 feet (460m), and has been recorded accelerating from 0-60mph in just 3 seconds - faster than most sports cars.

#2 - Pronghorn Antelope (57mph / 95kmh)

Pronghorn AntelopeThe Pronghorn Antelope (Antilocapra americana), or Pronghorn Buck, is a hoofed mammal native to North America. It is built for maximum predator evasion, with speeds recorded varying from 40-57mph. Although slower than the cheetah, the Pronghorn is capable of maintaining its top speed over much longer distances due to its large heart and lungs.

#3 - Blue Wildebeest (50mph / 80kmh)

Blue WildebeestOne of two species of wildebeest, the Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) is a grazing animal found in Southern and East Africa. With so many natural predators including lions, hyenas, cheetahs and crocodiles, the blue wildebeest move in large migratory herds and are capable of speeds up to 50mph when necessary.

#4 - Lion (50mph / 80kmh)

LionAt one time the second most common mammal in the world after humans, the Lion (Panthera leo) is these days found mostly in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The second largest living cat after the tiger, the lion can achieve speeds of up to 50 miles per hour when hunting its prey which can range from warthogs to elephants.

#5 - Springbok (50mph / 80kmh)

SpringbokThe Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) is a medium sized gazelle, earning its name from its tendecy to leap into the air while running to attract a female or evade a predator, a behaviour known as 'pronking'. Most commonly found in south and southwestern Africa it can reach running speeds of up to 50mph / 80kmh.

#6 - Brown Hare (48mph / 77kmh)

Brown HareThe smallest animal on our list of the top ten fastest mammals, the Brown Hare is native to much of Europe and Western Asia. Slightly larger than a rabbit, it is a strictly herbivorous mammal that feeds on many types of vegetation throughout the year. With a number of natural predators, the Brown Hare is a naturally shy animal and is capable of reaching 48mph to avoid capture.

#7 - Red Fox (48mph / 77kmh)

Red FoxThe Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a relatively small carnivorous mammal capable of running speeds of 48mph / 77kmh, incidentally the same as one of their prey, the Brown Hare. With natural populations of red foxes in the United States, Europe, North Africa and Asia, the red fox has the widest range of any terrestrial carnivore.

#8 - Grant's Gazelle (47mph / 76kmh)

Grant's GazelleThe Grant's Gazelle (Gazella granti) herivorous mammal found on open gras plains in East Africa. With the world's fastest land animal, the cheetah, being one of its natural predators, it needs to be quite speedy across the ground and can build up to a fastest speed of over 45mph.

#9 - Thomson's Gazelle (47mph / 76kmh)

Thompson's GazelleSimilar in appearance to the Grant's Gazelle, the Thomson's Gazelle (Gazella thomsoni) is probably the best known of the gazelle genus. Native to Africa's savannahs and grasslands, most notably the Serengeti, the Thomson's Gazelle will migrate in herds of hundreds or thousands. It can evade predators through its ability to maintain speeds of up to 47mph while turning quickly and 'pronking' to confuse chasers.

#10 - Horse (45mph / 72kmh)

HorseThe Horse (Equus caballus) is a common and highly domesticated animal. They have been used for centuries to carry humans and goods as well as pull objects such as ploughs and carts. Through breeding horses have also been made to specialise in certain tasks, such as racing, and it is here that horses have been recorded reaching speeds of 45mph.

Source - Various, 2008

Tags - Nature, Animals

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