Skip to Content

40 Animals That Can Run Faster Than a Car

polar bear
Polar she-bear with cubs. The polar she-bear with two kids on snow-covered coast. Image via Depositphotos

In nature, speed is crucial – either you need speed to catch your prey or to escape your predator. In other words, your speed often comes down to the difference between life and death. This extensive list of 40 animals that can run faster than a car highlights a few of these creatures.

Although some don’t technically run, but rather swim or fly, I can almost guarantee you that every single one would beat you in a race.

#1 Cheetah

cheetah introduces cubs
Image by Piet Bakker via Pexels

The cheetah is the epitome of speed, capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in just a few seconds, reaching top speeds of 75 mph.

#2 Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon soaring in the wind. Image by John Bell via Unsplash.

Being the fastest bird worldwide, the peregrine falcon can dive at over 240 mph to catch its prey.

#3 Pronghorn Antelope

Pronghorn Antelope, Cabin Lake Road, Fort Rock, Oregon
Pronghorn Antelope, Cabin Lake Road, Fort Rock, Oregon Image by Alan D. Wilson, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=996377, Wikimedia commons

The pronghorn is North America’s fastest land mammal, capable of speeds up to 55 mph. As if this wasn’t impressive enough, they can also maintain this high speed for long distances.

#4 Sailfish

sailfish
Image by ftlaudgirl via Depositphotos.

Sailfish are the fastest fish in the ocean, reaching speeds of up to 68 mph. Their streamlined bodies and large dorsal fins, which can be raised to intimidate predators or reduced to minimize drag, contribute to their incredible speed. Sailfish use their speed to hunt schooling fish.

#5 Springbok

In Namibia a beautiful male springbok, Antidorcas marsupialis, grazing free in the savannah. Image via Depositphotos.

Springboks can reach speeds of up to 55 mph and are known for their unique “pronking” behavior, where they leap into the air to display their fitness and to avoid predators.

#6 Jaguar

Jaguar (Panthera onca palustris) female, Piquiri River, the Pantanal, Brazil.
By Charles J. Sharp – Own work, from Sharp Photography, sharpphotography, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44247651

Jaguars are capable of reaching speeds up to 50 mph in short bursts, in addition to being powerful swimmers and climbers.

#7 Lion

More details Adult male lion of the Okondeka pride stretching in Etosha National Park.
Adult male lion of the Okondeka pride stretching in Etosha National Park. By Yathin S Krishnappa – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24541214

Lions, the kings of the jungle, can reach speeds of up to 50 mph in short bursts during a hunt.

#8 Greyhound

Italian Greyhounds
Italian Greyhounds playing. Image by sorokopud via Depositphotos

Greyhounds are the fastest dog breed, capable of running up to 45 mph. Their lean bodies, long legs, and deep chests are optimized for high-speed pursuits.

#9 Horse

Arabian horse
Bay Arabian horse runs gallop. Image by vikarus via Depositphotos

Certain horse breeds, such as the Quarter Horse, can gallop at speeds up to 55 mph. Horses have been bred for speed and endurance, making them fast runners over both short distances and longer races.

#10 Ostrich

Ostrich
Male ostrich. Image via Depositphotos

The ostrich is the world’s largest bird and can run at speeds up to 45 mph, thanks to its long legs and powerful stride. Ostriches use their speed to escape predators in their native African savannah habitats.

#11 Thomson’s Gazelle

Symbiotic Relationship of a Gazelle and a Spider
Image by Magda Ehlers via Pexels

Thomson’s gazelles are agile and fast and can reach speeds up to 50 mph to escape predators without breaking a sweat.

#12 Wildebeest

wildebeest
Blue wildebeest mother and calf in Kgalagadi transfrontier park, South Africa. Image via Depositphotos

Wildebeests can sustain speeds of 40 mph during their massive migrations across the African plains.

#13 Kangaroo

kangaroo
Image by Ethan Brooke via Pexels

Large kangaroos can reach speeds of up to 44 mph by using their powerful hind legs to propel themselves forward.

#14 Frigatebird

Frigatebird
Image by Joshua J Cotten via Unsplash

Frigatebirds are known for their exceptional speed and agility in the air, capable of reaching speeds of up to 95 mph during flight.

#15 Anna’s Hummingbird

Hummingbird
By Gareth Rasberry – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27851648

Capable of reaching speeds that exceed 50 mph during their courtship dives, Anna’s hummingbirds are among the fastest birds in proportion to their body size.

#16 African Wild Dog

wild dog
Image by Elli Stattaus via Pixabay

African wild dogs are known for their endurance running at speeds up to 44 mph during hunts – they work in packs to chase down prey over long distances in the African savannah.

#17 Elk

A male moose takes a rest in a field during a light rainshower.
Image by Ryan Hagerty – http://www.public-domain-image.com/public-domain-images-pictures-free-stock-photos/fauna-animals-public-domain-images-pictures/deers-public-domain-images-pictures/moose-and-elk-public-domain-images-pictures/a-male-moose-takes-a-rest-in-a-field-during-a-light-rainshower.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24856721

Elks can run at speeds up to 45 mph, especially when evading predators or during mating season chases. Their large size does not hinder their ability to move quickly through forested terrains or open fields.

#18 Mako Shark

mako shark
Image by toucanet via Depositphotos

The mako shark, the fastest shark in the ocean, can swim up to 46 mph thanks to its torpedo-shaped body and powerful tail.

#19 Brown Hare

tortoise vs. hare
Image by Vincent van Zalinge via Unsplash

Brown hares can reach speeds of 45 mph, using their powerful hind legs to escape predators. Not only that, they can skillfully make quick changes in direction to evade capture.

#20 Jackrabbit

jackrabbit
By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters – black-tailed jackrabbitUploaded by Dolovis, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31315796

Jackrabbits can sprint at speeds of 40 mph to escape predators. Their large ears also play a big part in being able to escape by detecting threats so they know where not to run to.

#21 Coyote

coyote
Coyote Howling in the American Southwest. Image via Depositphotos

Coyotes are capable of running up to 43 mph, using their speed to catch prey and evade danger. They are adaptable animals found in North and Central America, thriving in various habitats.

#22 Quarter Horse

quarter horse
Image by Christine Benton via Unsplash

Known for their explosive acceleration, Quarter Horses can reach speeds up to 55 mph in short distances. It is for this very reason they frequently partake (and win) quarter-mile races.

#23 Dolphin

Dog leads owner to baby dolphin
Dolphins are highly social animals, often found in pods ranging from a few individuals to hundreds. Image by Joe Boyne via Pexels

Dolphins can swim at speeds up to 25 mph, with bursts of up to 35 mph, using their streamlined bodies and powerful tails.

#24 Antelope

antelope in watering hole
Photo by Alex via Unsplash

Various antelope species can run at speeds ranging from 40 to 55 mph, which is often a matter of life or death as it’s their primary defense mechanism against predators.

#25 Hyena

spotted hyena
Image by Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, CC BY-SA 2.0 < https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hyenas are known for their endurance, capable of running at speeds up to 37 mph during a chase. They are efficient hunters and scavengers, using their speed to catch prey and escape threats.

#26 Giraffe

giraffe
Image by Frenjamin Benklin via Unsplash

Despite their size, giraffes can run at speeds up to 35 mph over short distances. They can reach this surprising speed because of their long legs which allow them to cover significant ground with each stride.

#27 Zebra

zebra grazing
Image by Pete Ball via Pixabay

Zebras can run at speeds up to 40 mph, using their speed and agility to escape from predators. When they’re moving this fast, their stripes blurr together and confuse predators during chases.

#28 Tiger

tiger
Siberian Tiger close up. Image by Wildfaces via Pixabay

Tigers, the largest of the big cats, can reach speeds up to 40 mph in short bursts – mich needed for their ambush-hunting technique.

#29 Leopard

Bird Tricks Leopard
Image of Leopard via Pexels

Leopards are capable of running up to 36 mph, using their speed and stealth to catch prey. They are solitary hunters, relying on surprise attacks to secure a meal.

#30 Polar Bear

polar bear
Image via Depositphotos

Polar bears can run up to 25 mph on land, a surprising speed given their very chunky size.

#31 Rhinoceros

rhino playing in water
Image by henk.bogaard@planet.nl via Depositphotos

Despite their heavy build, rhinoceroses can charge at speeds up to 34 mph, which combined with their armored skin, make them much more dangerous than what they look at first sight.

#32 Elephant

Elephant in lake. National park of Kenya, Africa.
Elephant in lake. National park of Kenya, Africa. By Byrdyak – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=91854281

Even though they’re the largest land animal their size doesn’t get in their way. Elephants can surprisingly run up to 25 mph.

#33 Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

largest bluefin tuna ever caught
Image via Depositphotos

Capable of swimming at speeds up to 43 mph, the Atlantic bluefin tuna is one of the fastest and most powerful fish in the ocean.

#34 Caribou

Caribou
Image by Dean Biggins (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) – US FWS, DIVISION OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, WO3772-023, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1214764, Wikimedia commons

Known for their long migrations, caribou can travel at speeds up to 50 mph. Their endurance and speed help them cover vast distances across the tundra.

#35 Serval

serval cat
Image by gayleenfroese2 via Pixabay

Servals, a type of wild cat, can reach speeds of up to 45 mph. They use their speed and jumping ability to catch birds and rodents in the African savannah.

#36 Ocelot

ocelot
Ocelot. JaguarXtreme2019, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ocelots can run at speeds up to 30 mph when chasing prey, a crucial weapon for these nocturnal hunters.

#38 Bald Eagle

bald eagle national animal of the U.S.
Image by Veronika_Andrews via pixabay

In flight, bald eagles can reach speeds up to 100 mph when diving for fish. Their powerful wings and keen eyesight make them efficient hunters over water and land.

#39 Red Fox

red fox
Red foxes’ forepaws have five toes, while their hind feet only have four! Image by Erik Mclean via Unsplash

Red foxes are very adaptable and can be found in many different parts on our planet. Being excellent hunters they can run as fast as 30 mph, using their agility and speed to catch prey or evade predators.

#40 Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle
Image by Dmitry Grigoriev via Unsplash

Golden eagles are powerful birds of prey that can dive at speeds of up to 150 mph to catch their quarry.

Animals That Can Run Faster Than a Car: Wrapping Up

The range of animals in this list is almost just as notable as the amazing speeds at which they can run (or fly or swim, depending on their habitat). Looking at these different creatures makes me think that we humans are good at a lot of things, but running is definitely not on that list.

Even if some of us can reach similar speeds with lots of training, there’s no way we’ll ever look as graceful as these animals who soar through the sky or glide through the water completely effortlessly.

Thank you for reading this article about animals that can run faster than a car! For more posts similar to this one, take a look here:

Cheetah Cubs Play With Warthog Piglets In The Wild Young Cheetah Cub Reunited With Family Adorable Big Cat Cub Sounds Meet The Only Bird To Take On The Eagle 10 Most Popular Pets Living in New York City