10 Fastest land Mammals

Can you name the top 10 fastest land Mammals and what speed do they go at?

Cheetah 114 km
Pronghorn Antelope 95 km
Blue Wildebeest 80 km
Springbuck 80 km
Lion 80 km
Brown Hare 77 km
Red Fox 77 km
Grant’s gazelle 76 km
Thompson’s gazelle 76 km
Horse 72 km

I’m sure you all choose cheetah as being the fastest land mammal, but why is this, what makes it so fast?


It is aerodynamically shaped with a small head, flattened rib cage with long, thin legs which minimizes wind resistance. It’s also a small cat weighing about 57 kg’s. It has an oversized powerful heart and lungs with large nostrils for additional air intake. Its spine is extra flexible acting as a spring for the back legs. The tail acts as a rudder and balance as it runs. A cheetah’s stride can be as much as 7.6 meters (the men’s world long jump record stands at 8.95 m) and it can reach a speed of 64 km/hour in four strides. At full speed the cheetah does 3 strides/second with only one foot on the ground at any one time, and often with none on the ground. Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, does the 100m sprint in 9.58 seconds which equates to roughly 37 km/hr. The cheetah’s last speed enhancers are its hard ridged foot pads and non-retractable claws.

Clearly the cheetah is equipped to catch prey but what are the down sides? It can only run at top speed for 550 meters before it overheats and needs to rest. During this time it is vulnerable to attack by larger predators or marauding thieves such as hyenas’. Being a small predator with a light body weight, small teeth and jaws it is no match to lions and leopards so often loses its hard earned food.

Nigel Anderson
Guide at African Insight



About Andrew Anderson

Managing Director: African Insight - Travel Experiences That Make A Difference African Insight - Explorations Tourism Concessionaire - Somkhanda Game Reserve
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