What Is the Fastest Animal on Earth?

The top speed man has run is about 25 miles per hour; the fastest dog, the greyhound, reaches a speed of 40 miles per hour; racehorses have been timed at 50 miles per hour; and antelopes can go close to 60 miles per hour.

Cheetah in Kenya

But none of them can come close to the world’s fastest runner, the cheetah. No animal on earth can outrun the cheetah’s 70-mile per hour speed.

This swift, graceful jungle cat lives in Asia and Africa, where it can be tamed and used for hunting. The native hunters blindfold the animal and hold it on a leash.

When game appears, the cheetah is freed. It then makes a running dash for its prey and holds it down until the hunters can reach it.

In other news, some people think that certain birds like the peregrine falcon are faster than the cheetah. Yup, it’s true that it can go faster (about 180mph), but not under its own power.

We’re also convinced that Chuck Norris could beat them all if he tries hard enough. We’ll upload a video as soon as we can get our hands on it.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

145 thoughts on “What Is the Fastest Animal on Earth?”

  1. The peregrine falcon is the fastest clocked animal on Earth, at 80m/s, or almost 180mph.

    The cheetah is only the fastest on the ground.

  2. The title clearly says “What Is the Fastest Animal on Earth?” not “What Is the Fastest Animal in the air?” therefore cheetah is the correct answer

  3. From Cheetah Conservation Fund website: The cheetah is aerodynamically built for speed and can accelerate from zero to 40 mph in three strides and to full speed of 70 mph in seconds. As the cheetah runs, only one foot at a time touches the ground. There are two points, in its 20 to 25 foot (7-8 metres) stride when no feet touch the ground, as they are fully extended and then totally doubled up. Nearing full speed, the cheetah is running at about 3 strides per second.

    Yes, the peregrine falcon often gets credit for being the fastest animal but one must remember that in the case of the cheetah it is all self-generated speed and when speaking of the peregrine falcon people are usually pointing out the speed it is free falling. I’m not sure how much self-generated speed a peregrine falcon has flying horizontally.

  4. the peregrine falcon is the fastest animal on earth and can come close 179 miles per hour and it can’t fly 180mph

  5. The Cheetah is not the fastest. It’s the fastest LAND animal but, not the fastest. Anyways, if the Tiger Beetle was the size of a human it could be the fastest animal at 300 mph! But the fastest is the Peregrine Falcon, at 270 mph! I say the Cheetahs’ quite slow.

  6. You all are so stupid, I train Cheetas and can guarantee that the Cheetah is not the fastest animal on earth. The fastest is the Gazelle which easily outruns the cheetah.
    see discovery channel guys volume 4 page 75

    you all are not very educated and it is obvious from your observations

  7. Cheetah is fastest on land, Falcon is fastest in the air. What fish or mammal is fastest in water?

  8. Falcons are not the fastest LAND animal on earth, you’re right. But the title of this “amazing fact” is “What is the fastest animal on earth?” For which, the original answer is wrong and the correct animal is “Peregrine Falcon.” Don’t be going around teaching little kids that cheetahs are fastest animal on earth. Fastest land animal? Yes. Fastest mammal? Yes. Fastest animal? No way.

    Peregrine falcons dive to kill their prey and reach speeds of 260 mph. That’s FOUR TIMES as fast as a cheetah.

    We have two nesting pairs here in downtown Des Moines,Iowa. One one a sky scraper, one on the state capitol building. They had a total of 5 chicks this year, and the parents each eat two birds a day, mostly pigeons and crows. It’s pretty cool.

    Give the lesser-known animal some credit. They are magnificent creatures and technically, the fastest animal on earth.

  9. I read about copepods (not sure if that is spelled correctly), they are zooplankton and can zip along at 500 times their body length in less than a second. Compared to a cheetah that would be 2000 mph. I read that in a book called Sea Soup.

  10. the thing says ON earth so yes the falcon is fast but thats at a drive where it dosent realy count because gravity takes its toll on the speed close but no cigar

  11. horizontal flight – meaning gravity is not a factor – and the peregrine falcon can go 55mph, therefore cheetah can generate faster speeds under its own power.

  12. You’re playing with semantics. As if “on Earth” did not include anything airborne, haha. Suddenly on my flight from Washington DC to Boston I spend an hour no longer on Earth? No longer on land, certainly but the concept of Earth easily includes its surrounding atmosphere.

    The fastest animal through artifice is man.
    The fastest animal by natural means is the Peregrine Falcon,
    and the fastest land animal by natural means is the Cheetah,
    though the Sailfish through water can go almost as fast. Which quite honestly is way more impressive.

  13. agreed if you are talking about making use of abilities or even using the resources available , in the case of the peregrine falcon gravity , then man is definately the fastest animal, and yes we are animals (kingdom Animalia), any of a group of multicellular eukaryotic organisms (i.e., as distinct from bacteria, their deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is contained in a membrane-bound nucleus). They are thought to have evolved independently from the unicellular eukaryotes. Animals differ from members of the two other kingdoms of multicellular eukaryotes, the plants (Plantae) and the fungi (Mycota), in fundamental variations in morphology and physiology. This is largely because animals have developed muscles and hence mobility, a characteristic that has stimulated the further development of tissues and organ systems. so i think your point is proved . Cheetah is the fastest unassisted animal generating its speed without relying on external factors. But Man has travelled faster than any other and has the ability to leverage available resources to possibly go even faster.

  14. Firstly, may I say that the person that stated above ‘gazelles are faster than cheetahs’ are extremely wrong under all circumstances! The Cheetah must be faster than the gazelle in order to survive. The Thompson Gazelle is the cheetahs main prey and the cheetah must outrun the gazelle in order to catch it! And train cheetahs, Honestly? You can’t even spell cheetah, or ‘cheeta’ as you put it.

    Secondly, those which have argued that the peregrine falcon is the fastest animal on earth and wrong (to an extent). Yes, it takes credit for eing the fastest animal on earth, but it merely freefalls and does not generate speed, it lets gravity do that. So it cannot take credit for such a title, the cheetah self generates extreme speed on land with pure muscle power and immense strength in its legs. Therefore I have proven the cheetah is the fastest animal on earth!

  15. well if Earth didn’t include the atmospheric surroundings then cheetah would be fastest. still there are many things faster than a cheetah

  16. Although i agree with your comment about the Peregrine Falcon being discounted because of the fact that it lets gravity do the work, however, the fastest travelling animal naturally is a bird. A certain species of ‘Swift’, the Spine Tailed Swift can reach speeds of 106mph which is roughly 46mph faster than a cheetah.

    There are actually 6 species of bird which can travel faster than a cheetah, and a 7th that can travel at 70mph which, if im not mistaken is the speed a cheetah reaches. So all in all airbourne is the way to go if you wanna pick up the most speed, which man also proved as they can travel a hell of alot faster in the air than on land.

  17. The peregrine falcon, I don’t care how you look at it, is not the fastest bird. It can only its amazing speed of near 200 MPH, by going into a dive. That is not actual flight. Actual flight speed is considered on level flight. Let’s say a fighter jet has a max speed of 380 MPH. That is level flight, but in a dive that same plane will be able of much greater speed.

  18. Snails are, without a doubt, the fastest creatures in the world on land, water and in air…(There’s probably some wickedly fast creatures in the ocean that we still don’t even know about). Why would Snails need to be able to run so fast? The only animal that comes in a close second to the Snails amazing speed is an airplane!!!. In order to catch up with a meal that’s as swift as the wind, the Snail had to develop the ability to run as fast, or faster than the airplane, or face the alternative – humiliated. Pretty strong motivation for practicing their wind sprints….

  19. Wow! This is a very impressive discussion!! I’d just like to ask for some advice from all of you. I’m doing a literature review on what makes one species faster than another…. any ideas of authers?

  20. actually man is an animal. In terms of human invented classification schemes, we belong to the kingdom animalia and that makes an animal.

  21. I can’t even believe this power dive nonsense. So it’s well-adapted to FALL DOWN very fast! Wowee.

    In terms of covering distance fast (in directions OTHER THAN DOWN) the falcon isn’t even in the race.

    Shoot. I’m sure a cheetah can go faster than 70 mph if you chuck it out of an airplane!

  22. Considering that the white-tailed jackrabbit runs zigzag and not in an easier straight line, they ought to get the gold medal for speed. They’ve been clocked at 70 mph.

  23. Yes, when you go on your plane flight you are no longer on Earth. Certainly, you are in the Earth’s atmosphere, but you aren’t on Earth.

  24. ‘What Is the Fastest Animal on Earth?’
    The phrase ‘on earth’ would imply on land, but in the question it is ‘Earth’, not ‘earth’, which therefore means we are discussing the planet, not merely the ground.
    The peregrine falcon is the fastest creature, to my knowledge – I have data claiming it reaches 190mph.
    Cheetahs do not run this fast, certainly. However, if we were talking about land animals, the cheetah would obviously win, hands down.

  25. If we’re allowing for assisted speed of animals (not including humans), the fastes animal would be Laika, the Soviet space dog. Ha! I win.

  26. Man IS an animal. Just because we have sentience, that does not mean we are not basically animals. Observation of any human behaviour will show similarities to that of many different creatures.

  27. we to are considered animals despite the people who think they are to good to be considered animals. i will even go into a in depth explination of it so you can understand.
    It is true that humans differ from other animals in terms of intelligence. However, from a biological perspective, humans are classified as animals! Why does this bother people, and why do people take great measures to prove that they are not animals? If you think about it, it is only a classification system anyway. It is a biological classification system designed to classify any living organism it encounters into groups according to the organism’s characteristics. Therefore, biologically we are members of the Animalia Kingdom; we are animals.
    Biblically, the word animal was used in a way that made distinctions between humans and other organisms.

  28. cheetah is the fastest land animal but not the fastest animal on Earth.
    “Earth” here would mean the planet, not land or soil. If you say “The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef on Earth,” it’s obviously referring to the planet and not land–there’s no reef on land.

    So in that context, the falcon would be the fastest.

  29. If you’re going to rule out the falcon because it uses gravity, then you have to rule out the cheetah (and everything else) because it uses friction to achieve it’s speed.

  30. The question is so simple! How its possible that so many people cant understand it ??? “What Is the Fastest Animal on Earth?” Earth (initial with capital letter!!) its a PLANET!!. Planet structure contains(simplify): SURFACE, HYDROSPHERE and ATMOSPHERE! So the question is about some animal that can live or on/under the surface or in the hydrosphere or in the atmosphere! I know that Cheetah its really nice and amazing animal and its definitely the fastest animal on land, but the animal that can reach highest speeds on Earth (capital letter means PLANET),so the question was about planet Earth(!) is definitely Peregrine Falcon!

  31. As you can see he clearly stated the cheetah is fastest on land but not the fastest animal and if you want to be that much of an idiot and say a falcon isnt on Earth where exactly is it? Is in on another planet? And just because its a bird doesnt mean its not on Earth I am pretty sure it doesnt fly 24 hours a day. Would you also say fish arent on Earth but under it, if so you are dumber than I thought. So instead of trying to correct others and make up idiotic statements that show you have no ability to analyze questions please just dont talk instead

  32. Actually, if one is to include air animals as well, then for maximum speed under it’s own power, the spine-tailed sift wins hands down. They achieve speeds in excess of 100 MPH- without the benefit of being in a gravity-assisted dive. And while we are at it, should we consider insects? The housefly and the Deer Bot fly can both lay claim to 90mph, while some dragonflies have been reported to reach 98 MPH (though this fact is in dispute among the experts, currently). And certain bats were very accurately measured by the united states air force, as well as the Department of the Navy at speeds in excess of 400 MPH. Extra points for anyone who can tell me why the were measured and how they achieved such amazing speeds.

  33. On earth includes any organic creature within the atmosphere…

    Fastest Land Animal : Cheetah

    Fastest Airborne Animal : Peregrine Falcon

    Fastest Aquatic Animal : Sailfish

    Fastest Overall, regardless of Techniques : Peregrine Falcon

    End argument.

  34. predators pick off the slowest, not the fastest, animal in a herd. Cheetahs do not need to be faster than gazelles to survive, just some gazelles. I don’t know which is faster, but your logic is incorrect.

  35. I agree that cheetas aren’t the fastest animals in the world. HOWEVER, your facts seem to be quite of (no offense Trainer). The fastest animal on Earth (the planet, not earth as in ground) is the peregrine falcon (close to 260 mph), but doesn’t the cheeta have to move faster than the gazelle to catch it? I think so, you?

  36. I am holding in my hands the book “Copepods in Aquaculture”, on page 91 it states that copepods can reach speeds of 800 body lengths/second, and have the ability to react in under 3 milliseconds. So if you consider relative speed, I think you would be hard pressed to find something, anything man made or organic that travels faster than that.

  37. The fastest land animal is indeed the cheetah, at 60 mph. But in terms of body lengths per second, that’s only, roughly 10 body-lengths per second on average, and 20 B.L.P.S. when sprinting after prey.

    However, since my comment is about B.L.P.S., the Tiger Beetle dwarf that number at 171 B.L.P.S.

    The fastest flying animal is the Peregrine Falcons at 323 B.L.P.S. on average, and 357 B.L.P.S. in an attack dive.

    The fastest (discovered) swimming animal is the Copepod at 500 B.L.P.S., as it evades it’s predators.

    Now for the fastest living creature on Earth (or earth considering that it touches ground, and it’s only form of locomotion is leaping, so it doesn’t technically “run”) is the flea. The flea, in one leap (up to 200 body lengths horizontally and 150 body lengths vertically), can move 13 inches. Don’t know if you’ve ever seen a flea leap, but they do move rather quickly. The Flea moves at over 2000 B.L.P.S.

    There you go, Fastest creatures on the planet.

    Now, for those of you who would still complain about fact. lets scale the animals all up to the size of a cheetah.

    Cheetah – 7 feet (with tail)
    Tiger Beetle – 0.5 inches x 14 = 7 feet
    Peregrine Falcon – 20 inches x 4.2 = 7 feet
    Copepod – 0.079 inches x 1063 = 7 feet
    Flea – 0.059 inches x 1423 = 7 feet

    Now, we’ll work with the animals at their fastest.

    Cheetah – 68 mph
    Tiger Beetle – 1539 mph
    Peregrine Falcon – 3213 mph
    Copepod – 4500 mph
    Flea – (at least) 18000 mph

    Now picture a 7 foot tall flea, leaping over 1000 feet, at 18000 mph. Now you know why fleas are 6 1000ths of an inch big.

  38. roflmfao! Now someone has to post the link for the cheetah being thrown from a plane, hitting mach 1 and ending the argument.

  39. The arguement that the falcon shouldn’t get credit for being the fastest animal because it uses gravity is flawed. The falcon generates it’s altitude by itself and thus stores potential energy (remember physics class) and then releases this eneregy that it has produced itself during it’s dive. And it can do this over and over again. The cheetah falling from the plane can only do it only once.

    The cheetah generates it’s speed through muscle power. So does the falcon — it just stores it as potential energy and then it controls when it would like to release it. In addition, it does this in a controlled manner as this is the mechanism with which it hunts. It is a much more elegant display than “just a free fall”.

    Should we say the cheetah can’t run 70mph if it happens to run down hill while doing it?

  40. Actually, the cheetah has been seen reaching speeds of 105 mph, respectively. You can’t base everything on averages, b/c 70 is just an average speed. Go figure…

  41. The falcon is the fastest the fact that it uses gravity to increase speed is irrelevant, the cheetah runs up to 70 miles per hour the falcon up to 200mph so whats the problem.
    Dave at the falcon foundation.

  42. #1.) I would say AT LEAST the Antelope is as fast as the Cheetah, it ‘s SILLY to say other wise when we all know that antelopes constantly run away from cheetahs when they are being chased, then the cheetah ALWAYS gets tired because Pronghorn Antelopes have so much more endurance it’s not even comparable. Then cheetahs catch older Antelopes that get tired easier.

    #2.) I’ve heard a story of a humming bird that was being chased by a Peregrine Falcoln. THE FUNNY THING IS THAT GUESS WHO SUDDENLY STARTED DOING THE CHASING!!!??? HA, the Humming bird did a fighter jet move…flew up… stopped and suddenly started chasing and ATTACKING the Peregrine Falcon!!! HA!!!!!!!!!!!!

    #3.) As for INSECTS! I heard a story on T.V. about a mysterious insect in the U.S. in a certain state that some people would swear they saw. The story is that in the daytime, they would be outside doing whatever then something moving by them going soo fast they couldn’t even tell what it was, they couldn’t even follow that insect with their eyes. Finally photographers with super duper high speed cameras took it on film. It didn’t have normall wings, but kind of slithered through the air like a snake with 2 long wings, not extending out, but attached to it from the front to the back.

    -very interesting story, wish I knew more

  43. First of all, a jet woule gain speed in a dive, with too much speed probably will mean a lost of control and a crash…

    The aim of this question is not to find the fast “level speed” animal on Earth, but to find which animal can attain the highest speed. And in that Regard, the peregrin falcon is the single animal capable attaining such speed.

    As a side note, che cheetah cannot maintain that speed (@~70mph) for much longer than a peregrin falcon can maintain the dive (@~200mph) so that wouldn’t count either?

  44. It should be the Paragrine Falcon, although the Spine-tailed sift should get more credit than the Cheetah considering it can go 107 full on. I believe that this site is speaking of the fastest land animal.

  45. The falcon is not doing anything special by pulling its wings together and diving. That’s not flying, it’s falling with style. By that measure, humans have the record. A skydiver can reach 600 mph. Top speed record goes to the swift for sustained flight speeds of over 100 mph.

  46. unfortunately gravity will take its toll on the flea, so I highly doubt it jumps at 18000mph. i may not be as smart as you but i’m sure there’s a formula u can use for something like that ;)

  47. Cheetahs do need to be faster than Gazelles to survive.

    Gazelles can run at a very high speed for a very long time.
    The Cheetah can only run it’s amazing speed for a very short time.

    So a Cheetah attempting to catch a Gazelle is not going to have the luxury of starting this race side by side with the Gazelle. The Cheetah starts off the race well behind the Gazelle and has to catch it quickly before it has to stop due to muscle fatigue and over heating.

  48. I haven’t a clue as to how or why bats were being measured for speed. As a NAVY Sonar Technician, I can only guess that they were trying to find out how bats use broadband signals and adjust calls in relation to their flight speed so that objects can be localized with accuracy. This will come in handy when designing/improving sonar and or radar equipment for the military.
    Am I even close? Just curious…

  49. I saw a monkey fall of a cliff, it reached speeds in excess of 200mph, the fact that it died is irrelevant.

    Bob at the monkey institute.

  50. It would depend on the race.

    If there were a flying race, the Spine-tailed Swift would win (106mph).

    If there were a running race, the Cheetah would win (70mph).

    If there were a swimming race the Shortfin Mako shark would win. According to the ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research, ‘It has been reliably clocked at 31 miles (50 kilometres) per hour, and there is a claim that one individual of this species achieved a burst speed of 46 miles (74 kilometers) per hour.’

    The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest bird that dives headfirst down through the sky. They can travel up to 200mph!

  51. a figment of your imagination as nothing can be gone that fast… except the armadillo, which is not an insect

  52. You have no proof backing up your argument. That makes you dumb.

    I believe the “insects” are called Rods btw.

  53. Are you stupid? Trees are animals because they have reproductive organs.

    The part I don’t get is why the lack of movement would make it the fastest animal on Earth.

    Maybe because they are moving so fast that they appear to be in the same spot all the time…

  54. The Indo-Pacific Sailfish is the fastest fish with a speed of 68 mph(http://www.australianmuseum.net.au/fishes/faq/fastest.htm).

    The Cheetah is certainly the fastest running animal in short bursts at 70 mph.

    The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest in the use of its abilities to produce high speed and survive at 273 mph (gravity assist dive).

    But wait; if we include the falcon then we must admit that Man is the fastest We have used our God given abilities to go much faster than any animal can. The Apollo 10 astronauts traveled at 24,791 mph (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_10) on their return from the moon (gravity assist). Oh trick question, man is not an animal.

  55. that is so stupid guys the fastest animal is a sort of a bird it goes up to 120mp but a tuna fish is faster than that and by the way the cheeate ias fast but it cna’t go very far can it. look it up dunbos

  56. Nope, Cheetah isn’t the fastest animal on earth, I agree its the fastest land mammal, but the fastest creature breathing alive, is a bird called PEREGRINE FALCON, Moves at 300Km/h when it hunts down for its prey, Second fastest animal is Selfish Fish (As its called), and its the second fastest animal on earth, and first in underwater world, moves at 100km/h in water..
    Third is Cheetah which moves between 70-105 Km/h, and it gets tired so fast as hell, but as a record, cheetahs are the fastest Land Mammal on land, just like Elephants are Hugest Mammal on Land, And whale is the hugest animal on earth. Hope you enjoyed this information

  57. Are you talking about the “bat bomb” program they had in WWII. In the program they would surgically attach incendiary bombs to bats, haul 100 or so into enemy lines, start the fuses, let them free, and the bats would all fly inside houses to roost. (The bats would naturally seek the exact sort of place you would want an incendiary round to ignite) this would shortly be followed by the ignition of the incendiary and ignition of the house the bat was roosting in. is that the program you are talking about? (Yes, it really did happen, google “Bat bomb”)

  58. the Peregrine Falcon is only really fast because it has its speed and gravity so the Peregrine Falcon is kinda cheating

  59. Quite frankly i think your comment was completely retarded and out of order. We all know the badger is the fastest predator on the earth, and you shall be hearing from my lawyer.

  60. The fastest in the air you fool is the flying wombat. It can reach 60mph in less than 3 seconds and likes to eat potatoes for breakfast. If anyone would like to disagree with my comment, please feel free to contact me on my email address.

  61. the cheeta is not the fastest animal the fastest animal is the cosuin to the antulope i cant rememmber what it name is but it gose 5mph faster then the cheeta.

  62. air is a part of our earth therefore peregrine falcons are the fastest animal on earth
    acording to the facts when a peregrine dives the speed can reach upto 180 to 198 miles per hour…
    But if you don’t agree with the dive, there is still an animal that can fly at a speed of 105 miles per hour that animal or bird is spine tailed swift…
    I am a fan of cheetah but i won’t agree that cheetah is the fastes animal on earth…

  63. If you’ve ever watched a nature program, then you’d see that cheetahs are faster than the gazelles. If not, then cheetahs wouldn’t eat. However, over long distances a gazelle could outrun a cheetah since they have greater stamina and can out-manouver the predator. But we judge them at their top speeds, so cheetahs are therefore the fastest animal on earth.

    Also, I refuse to believe that anyone who makes a comment like yours is more educated than me. I’m 12 and yet I think what you said was unecessary. Please say what you have to say and not reply to our personal opinions in such an immature way.

  64. id say that the spine-tailed swift is the fastest animal on earth. horizontally, it can reach speeds up to 105 mph. flying is no easy job, it takes a lot of muscle to lift ur whole weight off the ground, along with some hollow bones, but do note that there are many microscopic and small creatures that can travel pretty far distances at amazing speeds and that if they were as big as a cheetah they’d definetley be the fastest animals on earth…

  65. The question itself lacks definition, it’s too broad a question! It should have specified whether the animal is fastest due to assisted means, or natural means, or comparatively, etc.
    Taking the question simply as it is written ‘What Is the Fastest Animal on Earth?’, and imposing no parameters on it then the answer, to the question as written, is Man. Had the question itself been more specific then the answer would be different…but as it stands, it’s Man. Man is the fastest animal on Earth, able to achieve speeds in excess of Mach 6 in the X-15, the world’s fastest manned aircraft. No other animal can move that fast!

  66. I agree and disagree with Urban. I mean, if the question itself had said “What is the fastest land animal on Earth?” hands down would be the cheetah. But the question itself was too broad. the answer, whether you like it or not, as to the fastest animal on Earth, is the Peregrine Falcon, able to reach speeds of 270mph, being the fastest animal recorded in history. now Urban, i dont disagree with your logic, as man being fastest, but man needed HELP getting to Mach six – in a jet now the peregrine falcon needed no help, in the exception of pure gravity and some wind, but no jets, no fuel, no nothing else. therefore, i declare the peregrine falcon and many birds as the fastest animals on Earth.

  67. Give the Peregrine falcon some respect surely it dives at about 180mph and humans use tools such as planes. These birds are the fastest animals on Earth even faster than humans and they don’t even use tools plus without a dive it reaches speeds of about 100mph. Earth contains water, air and land.

  68. actually the humming bird has been declared the fastest animal in the whole world (that’s land, sea and air)

  69. First of all, you have to make sure that all the factors are the same before comparing, so no advantages allowed… Like diving speeds in peregrine falcons. Because, if you think about it, if you chucked a cheetah off a really tall cliff, it would go fast!!
    Also, bear in mind air is lighter and a smaller amount of enery is needed to glide on it that to cover ground.
    Plus, proportional sizes too, like if you were to bring a tiny insect or plankton up to the size of a falcon or cheetah then it would go much faster than either of them.
    If we were to work out all off this, it would take years, and it hasn’t been done yet… So we cannot really tell what animal is the fastest on earth.

  70. try the strike of a rattlesnake – landbased animal strikes at 175 mph – that makes it the fastest (running is not required, if it was the snake would need legs)

  71. Octopus Paul is the fastest! If droped form an airplane it can reach 300km/h and predict his death at the same time!!

  72. NONE OF THE ABOVE are correct. Speed over distance is the criteria. Has no one heard of PERSISTENCE HUNTING!

  73. I reckon a Cheetah is overall the fastest animal even compared to a falcon. If you dropped both a Cheetah and a falcon off a skyscraper, the Cheetah would hit the ground first every time. The Falcon would fly the Cheetah would just drop!

  74. The Marlin as as fast as a cheetah & a sailfish at about 70 mph max. Falcons without diving, using gravity, can only reach 60 mph. Draw your own conclusions

  75. Still the chimney swift reaches speeds as I said of over 200. Which beats the cheetah, peregrine falcon, and “Ben Smith”

  76. Clint; I’m a Professor of physics in a research laboratory in the south latitude of the USA. It matters not where I am but I have read your answer to a question of gravity speed. I’m afraid you are wrong in thinking that a Falcon can only reach 70 mph falling from the sky. Experts in the field of birds have recorded the Falcon diving from high altitudes to attack their pray at 179 mph. The reason they can reach this high speed is because of their smooth aerodynamic shaped wings and body. They can actually push themselves faster than gravity can pull them to achieve this high speed to grab their pray before it can get away. Rule 51…. Sometimes your wrong…….The Professor

  77. The animal that use the most engery is the Hummingbird it can flap it’s wings 80 times a second and the strongest animal on earth is the Rhino Beetle it can carry 850 times it;s own weight that is like a human lifting 65 tons

  78. Yes, but how fast do you think you could run carrying 65 tonnes on your back, even if you did manage to flap your arms at 80 beats a second?

  79. 1. Like someone said Stop arguing semantics. The fastest animal on earth includes everything within Earth’s many eco systems.
    2. Doesn’t matter how the animal is achieving the speed, Yes I’m sure you could go 200 mph falling in the air, but how well do you think your body could survive that impact. These Birds do it without dying.
    3. Its not just mere free fall, these birds are in control. They can pull out of it when necessary and they use this technique when their hunting prey.
    4. If you also do some research, you will find that just as how the Cheetah has an adapted skeletal system that increases its flexibility.
    5. Just like how the Cheetah’s body has been adapted, so have the Falcons. Do you honestly think you can breathe when the wind hitting your face is going 200mph? Get real. Here are some of the adaptations that enable the bird this incredible break speed in flight (Taken from Wikipedia)
    “The air pressure from a 200 mph (320 km/h) dive could possibly damage a bird’s lungs, but small bony tubercles on a falcon’s nostrils guide the powerful airflow away from the nostrils, enabling the bird to breathe more easily while diving by reducing the change in air pressure. [54] To protect their eyes, the falcons use their nictitating membranes (third eyelids) to spread tears and clear debris from their eyes while maintaining vision.”

  80. Man is an animal. He lives on earth. In obit a space ship will travel 17,500 miles per hour. Man is the fastest animal. As well as the most dominant one.

  81. The cheetah will not fall at the same speed as the falcon. Unless a cheetah can fold itself into a bullet shape while free falling it will never reach those speeds. Terminal Velocity is the maximum air speed of a falling object. This speed is reached when the acceleration of a falling object is balanced out by wind resistance. Human skydivers will normally attain speeds of around 120 mph. However when experienced skydivers put themselves in the bullet position they can reach speeds of up to 210 mph.

    So, the cheetah is the fastest animal on land, but not in the world. That honour goes to the Peregrine Falcon. Until they race those experienced skydivers,of course.

  82. If what your saying is true then human is the fastest animal on earth falling at over 600mph, but luckily you don’t know what your talking about, it does matter because “falling” doest count noob.

  83. Neither insects, reptiles, mammals, or terrestrial bird speeds come anywhere close to birds in flight. Birds are not only the fastest animals in the air: they are the fastest animals on earth. Swifts can fly at 106 miles per hour (171 km per hour). Peregrine falcons fly at 90 miles per hour (171 km per hour) and dive at 200 miles per hour (322 km per hour). In other words, the short answer to the question is: peregrine falcons are the world’s fastest animals. Cheetahs are great and all, but their not the fastest. The falcon isn’t cheating either, no other bird can do this. Nature is not always fair, if the cheetah could use gravity it would.

  84. The peregrine falcon can free fall 180 mph. I can free fall 180mph, a snail could too. The swift is the fastest animal.

  85. The cheetah will not fall at the same speed as the falcon. Unless a cheetah can fold itself into a bullet shape while free falling it will never reach those speeds. Terminal Velocity is the maximum air speed of a falling object. This speed is reached when the acceleration of a falling object is balanced out by wind resistance. Human skydivers will normally attain speeds of around 120 mph. However when experienced skydivers put themselves in the bullet position they can reach speeds of up to 210 mph.

    So, the cheetah is the fastest animal on land, but not in the world. That honour goes to the Peregrine Falcon. Until they race those experienced skydivers,of course.

    I completely agree with this. I was about to say this my self but you came along and said it.
    My evidence is a video where they release a Peregrine falcon and see if it can catch up with the (unprofessional) skydivers. It does and circles around them just to demonstrate it’s speed.

  86. You guys are not listing speeds! The peregrine falcon only reaches a speed of 150 MAX. the swift IS OVER 200, IS THERE ANYTHING FASTER!

  87. Actually, the animal that is best at sprinting is a wolf.
    Cheetas ARE the fastest land animal; three toed sloths are slowest.
    Peregine falcons are the fastest air animal the slowest air animal is the American woodcock, although some bugs are slower.
    Sailfish are the fastest ocean animal, seahorses are the slowest ( fish)
    I think I’ve covered most everything oh yeah, did I mention I’m only eleven ? ;D

  88. Oh and like Eli says the swift is the fastest diver of the sky.
    Humans are not the fastest duh. Sure cars make them go fast and what not, but the human itself isn’t even doing anything. Hm… Whats the fastest Dino I wonder * checks* it’s the Orinthomimus , apparently the slowest is the stegosaurus any other questions?

  89. Actually, if you bring a tiny insect up to the size of a cheetah, its exoskeleton would fail and will most likely die instantly because of gravity and physics. Just like flies rely on their small weight to stick to the wall, bugs rely on their small size to move quickly.

  90. If a tiger beetle would be the size of a human, it would die, simple as that. There’s a reason exoskeletons are reserved for tiny animals, their physics aren’t compatible with big weights.
    Now, imagine a cheetah at the size of a blue whale, do you think it will increase its speed? No, because its body type isn’t meant for sizes that big. Heck, even humans barely over 7 feet rarely have a relatively healthy live.

    Just saying that you shouldn’t mess with size when comparing feats of strength in the animal kingdom, as it ties in to a great degree.

  91. Point is, when you hop a cheetah of a cliff, it will also go faster than 70 mph. Looking at it that way, in the right situation, the blue whale may just be the fastest animal on Earth, with its huge weight and aerodynamic build, it will go lightning fast once dropped 10 miles above the surface.

  92. it IS the perigrine falcon. If u dropped a cheetah, sure it would go fast but it would die because it is not built to fall. But a falcon can close over it’s nostrils, has a transparent eyelid
    and it’s lungs are made to take in a lot of oxygen. It is also super streamlined. It’s shaped like a bullet and has extra snooth feathers. Cheetahs have nothing on falcons.
    Greyhounds, sailfish, spine-tailed swifts and cheetahs are next in line (that’s not in order)
    Usain Bolt was clocked at 27.3 mph.

    I am 11 years old.

  93. the humming bird isn’t the fastest just cuz it can flap ti’s wings fast dosen’t mean it can fly the fastest compared to distance and time P.S. Im 11 also.

  94. The fastest natural thing on the planet is the pollen from the white Mullberry. It ejects at half the speed of sound.

    I am more than eleven.

  95. terminal velocity is the same for any object therefore based on your ill-conceived logic all animals are the fastest. the difference is, the peregrine is the only animal that can reach terminal velocity and then pull up gracefully and continue flying. in other words the peregrine is the fastest animal as it is the only one capable of surviving terminal velocity quite successfully without a parachute

  96. Ugghhhh im tried of this people if we are talking about land its cheetah if air its a acuallty im not sure but not the pergine falcon cause it only moves fast when it dive bombs

  97. The world’s fastest animal is the Perigrine Falcon, which is also the fastest bird. Radar observations have discovered that it can reach speeds of up to 140 mph in a dive (called a stoop).Perigrine Falcons can also stop quickly at top speeds, which is effective when involved in a hunt.

  98. I gotta say, I couldn’t even read half these posts without groaning at the stupidity of mankind. Arguing “fastest animal on earth means on land, no it means in all the world, no it means that’s ever existed, no it means…” Sheesh, the 12-year-olds sound smarter! You middle school kids who are putting these adults in their places deserve a lifetime of cookies. The rest of these genetic rejects deserve to be eaten by cheetahs.

    First off, the fastest fish is the sailfish, as some people above said, but it’s only 68 mph, so it’s slower than the cheetah. Saying “well it’s got water resistance so that means on land it’d be faster than the cheetah” is as ignorant as saying if you tossed a cheetah out a plane, it’d be faster. Hell, if you want to talk about unnatural environments, just put me in the cockpit of an X-15.

    Secondly, that pesky peregrine falcon seems to have caused a lot of confusion for the ignoramuses of the world. This lovely bird has been clocked in freefall at 260 mph, making some people claim it is “fastest.” Properly, others have pointed out that this is its speed while in a dive. The peregrine falcon that was clocked at that speed was also thrown out a plane at 30,000 feet so it could be high enough to reach terminal velocity. That’s cheating in my book.

    Contrary to what others have posted, humans do not also freefall at this speed. There’s a thing called AIR RESISTANCE which slows us down. Only in a vacuum do all things fall equally. Go back to high school. Or try copying the homework of one of the smart 12-year-olds.

    As impressive as our bird-sans-parachute is, animal speed records are taken by HORIZONTAL movement (be it flight or running), because otherwise, let me run down the face of Grand Trango and I’ll beat the pants off Usain Bolt.

    In horizontal movement, the cheetah beats all other land animals at claims (not proven) of 75 mph, and a record made by the cheetah Sarah of 70 mph. In horizontal flight, the spine-tailed swift is the fastest bird at 106 mph. The peregrine falcon doesn’t even land in the top ten for its horizontal speed. It falls fast, that’s all. It’s not the “fastest” by how experts measure animal speeds. Otherwise, go test your speed at terminal velocity until you surpass 260 mph. But remember, parachutes mess up air resistance. Don’t wear one. Darwin will cheer you on.

    If you want to argue that the peregrine falcon is the fastest animal in the world, first ask the folks over at Guinness to change their rules. Offer them cookies. If they’re as naive as some of the people who posted here, they’ll fall for it.

  99. Ben, get off it! Terminal velocity for a man is 129 mph. Not 180 mph. As a skydiver, I know this well. Second, the peregrine powers into the dive to achieve the 203 mph speed. People can’t. The falcon is doing much more than falling. Jump off a cliff and see what falling is all about. Oh, put on a chute first. I wish I could dive that fast, with the same control! What a rush!

  100. Nice attempt at sounding smart but, on Earth, terminal velocity is different for every object. It depends largely on air resistance and how aerodynamic something is. So basically the peregrine falcon is the most aerodynamic animal on Earth and that is why it can reach the fastest speeds.

    What you said would be true on the moon, where there is no atmosphere and therefore no air resistance.

  101. lol no cause it doesnt weigh much. and is literally as aerodynamic as a twig
    and going anything over 80 mph whould rip it to shreds

  102. Will, my five year old thinks you all are wrong. He says the fastest animal on earth is a hawk.

  103. well if a cheetah is as big as a whale it will really go fast! well try to learn HOW GIANTS became awesome.

  104. Actually a guy said here the cheetah is not the fastest and he is right, the gazelle have been clocked at 75 miles an hour numerous times, but the say the cheetah because to re-write books would cost too much, just like “Richard Pearce” was the first man in the world to fly an aero plane

  105. you people are ALL WRONG. There is something which is faster but by comparrison. If a tiger beetle was the size of an average man, 1.8 m tall, it could run at a speed of 480 mph (770km/h) faster than a perigrin falcon at 248 mph nearly twice the speed. get your facts straight before you comment next time. And too all those who were so far off they said cheetahs, you people are all MONKEYS and thats coming from a 13 yr old PERIOD.

  106. What’s All This Controversy?! After 4 years and almost 300 comments, the controversy still rages over what is fastest… Cheetah,….Falcon…Sallifish….Beetle… on land…. in the air…. in water….flying,,,,swimming…falling…running.

    The premise in the original post limits the contestants to land animals and states: “….But none of them can come close to the world’s fastest runner, the cheetah. No animal on earth can outrun the cheetah’s 70-mile per hour speed….”

    So falcon fans and fish fans, you still have your champions… but in the realm of those that are confined to running on land, and unless and until someone can document something faster, the Cheetah reins supreme.

    Very sadly, the very future of the Cheetah as a species is questionable due to human exploits…leaving the second fastest runner to take its place. Perhaps the real question here worth debating is whether we humans can prevent that from happening….

  107. Either way you look at it. First off,a gazelle doesn’t run faster than a cheetah. Sure gazelles do get away often. But the reason they do is that they are more agile then cheetahs. They rely on their ability to change direction quickly. While a cheetahs speed is based on a fixed straight direction. Having to change direction effects its speed quite a deal. And as for the falcon. How fast can a human fall? Given the correct gear and techniqe. Probably faster then both the land animals.

  108. The sailfish is the fastest animal without flying they have an average top speed of 69 mph where the cheeta’s average is 62 mph.

  109. I remember my great Uncle Jeffro Cummantwood who used to dive naked into the Indian Ocean collecting pearls, when one day he said he saw a huge tortoise running across the beach at at least 80mph
    It took him a few moments to register what he seen, there was no camera phones in them days so Jeffro ran back to his village naked & ran into the local church to tell everyone what he seen.
    Jeffro spent the rest of his days in a mental institute on the island & never came out.

  110. lets just end this already. It’s the peregrine falcon, and the title is read to be animals on earth, not specifically land animals. And whether it’s diving or not, it can reach a speed of about 100 mph, so diving or just flying, the win goes to the peregrine falcon

  111. a spine tailed swift has achieved speeds of 106 mph, thus making it the fastest animal on earth, where as the peregrine falcon can only fly straight at 55 mph, making many birds faster than it in level flight.

  112. All of you equating land to earth are forgetting that the earth consists of land, sea, and air. Every bit of matter within the gravitational pull of the planet is part of the earth. Therefore the falcon is the fastest animal on earth. The black marlin and the cheetah are about the same, but the cheetah is wasted after about 60 yards. For distances in excess of 50 miles, go with a prey animal. Without a rider, the mustang can cover fifty miles in just over an hour.

  113. The fastest bird is the peregrine falcon, the fastest land animal is the cheetah, the fastest ocean/sea fish is the Black marlin.

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