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Some animals are perfectly designed to be the ultimate speed machines.

Some of these fly through the air, others swim through water and some run on land. Most of the fastest animals are birds so our list below includes a selection of the fastest of all these different types of animals. Here are 10 of the fastest animals in the world.

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Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon

The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest bird, and in fact the fastest animal on the planet, when in its hunting dive, the stoop, in which it soars to a great height, then dives steeply at speeds of over 322km/hr. It reaches horizontal cruising speeds of up to 90 kph.
Find out more fascinating information on Peregrine Falcons in our Animals A-Z section.

Spine-tailed Swift

Spine Tailed Swift

The Spine-tailed swift is the fastest bird in powered flight, with a top recorded speed of 171km/h.

Frigate Bird

Frigate Bird

The frigate bird speed of 153km/h is helped by having the largest wingspan to body weight ratio of any bird and they are able to stay aloft for more than a week.

Spur-winged Goose

Spur-winged Goose

Photo by Craig Adam

The Spur-winged goose is the world’s largest goose and flies at 142km/h.

Sail Fish


Photo by CFoceanimages

The sail fish is easily the world’s fastest fish, speeding through the water at 110km/h.


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Marlin can swim at 80km/h, followed by Wahoo at 78km/h and Tunny at 74km/h.



The cheetah is designed for running down fast prey and can reach a top speed of 113km/h, three times faster than the top running speed for a human which is about 36km/h.
Cheetahs have a skill that no other big cat has, find out what that is in our Animal A-Z section.

Pronghorn Antelope

Pronghorn Antelope

The Pronghorn antelope is the second fasted land animal and at 98km/h can out-sprint predators.

Blue Wildebeest 


The Blue Wildebeest, Springbok and Thompson’s gazelle can all run at about 80km/h which almost exactly matches the speed of a lion.

Brown Hare


The Brown hare’s long back legs enable them to reach speeds of 77km/h, the same speed as their predator the red fox.

Make 2016 an amazing year for animals