Speed is an incredible characteristic to have in the animal world. Speed can help with hunting, evasion from predators and travelling great distances. So, what are some fast animals in Africa?
There are many animals that have been blessed with the gift of speed. These include land animals, birds and sea creatures. However, the title of fastest land animal belongs to one creature only.
This animal is far faster than man and has insane hunting skills. In this post, we look at the world’s fastest land animal,the cheetah, along with 4 other agile land animals.
Top 5 Fastest Animals in Africa
These fast animals are a mixture of herbivores and carnivores from all across Africa. Take a look at them below and learn more about these magnificent creatures.
This quick animal claims the fastest animal speed at 75 miles per hour. The cheetah can accelerate to 69.5 mph in just 3 seconds. This is faster than a BMW sports car can accelerate. The Cheetah is a feline and is made for speed.
The cheetah’s long limbs, lengthened spine, claws and tail all contribute to its speed and grace.
According to the IUCN Red List (the Red List of Threatened Species), the cheetah has been classified as vulnerable. Between 9 000 and 12 000 are left in Africa. The cheetah is threatened because of conflict with man and the conversion of its habitat into areas for agriculture.
The cheetah is the fastest animal in Africa and the world. Most cheetahs live in sub-Saharan Africa. These majestic creatures traverse the savannah and open forests there.
In terms of their lifestyle, cheetahs are normally found in groups. These groups usually comprise a mother and her siblings, or young males. Adult females are solo hunters and only see other cheetahs when it is time to mate.
When it comes to speed, the cheetah is more of a sprinter. This animal would win no awards for marathon running. Although it is fast, it is also rather small in size when compared to other carnivores, such as the lion or leopard.
The springbok, emblem of the South African Rugby team, is the next fastest animal on the speed list at 55 miles per hour. Springboks live in:
- Southwestern Africa
These small fast animals have to be speedy as they are prey to many predators, like lion, cheetah and wild dog. Only their speed gives them a chance of survival when faced with these threatening carnivores.
In addition to being fast, the Springbok is also odd. They perform an interesting kind-of dance called pronking. Pronking takes the form of these animals making strange-looking leaps into the air with stiff legs and straight necks. The antelope makes these leaps in order to appear larger and more formidable.
Springbok are grazing animals that prefer open grassland rather than rocky or forested areas. These open grasslands give the antelope plenty of space to romp and pronk to their hearts’ content.
3. Blue Wildebeest
The blue wildebeest is much larger than the springbok. Similar to the Springbok, this animal spends most of its time in open grassland.
The blue wildebeest is a fast runner and this animal’s top speed is 50 miles per hour. This species of wildebeest is famous for its participation in the great animal migration in Africa.
Wildebeests travel in a migratory circle every year, ranging from 500 to 1000 miles in distance. Many are injured and killed during the migration.
A social creature, this antelope appears in herds ranging from ten to thousands strong. Blue wildebeest are mainly found in the north-eastern areas of South Africa. These animals are not classified as endangered or vulnerable. They do appear in conservation areas such as the Kruger National Park in South Africa.
Speed is a necessary form of defence for wildebeests as they have speedy predators such as cheetah, hyenas and lions.
Yes, there are two cats in the top 5 animals for speed. Lions match wildebeest for speed at 50 miles per hour. They live in family groups called prides, which can contain anywhere between 15 and 40 lions.
In addition to living in a pride, they also hunt as a group. This increases their success when hunting. While on the chase, lions can reach high speeds, but they can only keep these for a short time.
Lions prey on animals such as wildebeest, zebra, and buffalo. The lionesses of the pride are in charge of the hunting.
Lions are large and speedy animals. Males can weigh up to and over 440 pounds, while female lions can weigh in at 290 pounds.
The Ostrich is the final animal on the list. The ostrich can reach speeds of 45 miles per hour.
The ostrich is the largest species of bird on earth. Ostriches are mainly herbivores, but are known to eat insects on occasion.
Although this giant bird has wings, it cannot fly. Luckily, it has its long and strong legs to carry it far away when it’s in danger.
Ostriches have been domesticated across the world for their meat, feathers and eggs.
Ostriches are known for their extraordinary habit of swallowing large numbers of pebbles. These pebbles help them to grind food in their gizzards, which assists their digestion.
Last Words on The Fastest Animals in The World
It is interesting to see that fast prey attract fast predators. Blue wildebeest match the speed of its primary predator, the lion. The springbok and ostrich also bring swiftness to the table along with a bit of weirdness in the form of the Springbok’s pronking and ostrich’s pebble diet.
All of these quick animals originate from Africa. The African cheetah’s top speed beats the second-fastest species by a hefty 20 miles per hour, making it a clear winner.
Africa’s fastest animal is thus also the answer to the question of what is the fastest land animal in the world. There must be something in the continent’s air that encourages the evolution of these fast animals in Africa.