What Is the Fastest Animal in the World?

fastest-animal-world Credit: John Lund/Stephanie Roeser/Blend Images/Getty Images

The peregrine falcon is the world's fastest animal, reaching speeds of up to 242 miles per hour. These falcons reach their top speed as they dive toward their prey, but they do not travel as fast during normal flight.

On land, the fastest animal is the cheetah, which can run at 70 miles per hour for short distances. The world’s fastest fish, called the sailfish, can reach speeds of 68 miles per hour because of its streamlined body. Surprisingly, the paratarsotomus macropalpis, which is a tiny mite, moves the fastest in proportion to its body, traveling 322 body lengths per second.

The fastest bird in flight is the white-throated needletail, which can fly up to 105 miles per hour. In addition, a bird holds the title as the fastest two-legged creature on earth, as the ostrich can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour and can travel at a steady pace of 30 miles per hour for up to 30 minutes.

By comparison, the world's fastest recorded human, Usain Bolt, reached a top speed of 27.79 miles per hour while setting the word record in the 100-meter dash. A human has reached speeds greater than any animal, however, when Felix Baumgartner peaked at 843.6 miles per hour during his skydive from outer space.