Most of these beautiful and terrifying creatures aren’t pettable. We’d suggest running away from them if you’re caught in their path, but since they’re Africa’s 10 fastest animals…good luck! Here are the 10 African animals that can outrun you.
They usually move at a pace of nine-to-12 kilometers an hour (five-to-seven miles per hour), but if they feel so inclined they’ll speed up to 40 kilometers an hour (almost 25 mph). At their top speed, elephants have at least three of their feet off the ground at once, moving mostly from the hips. And they’re heavy too…up to eight tons! Run awaaayy!!!
There’s the black rhino (above), found in mostly Central or Eastern Africa, and there’s the white rhino, the largest species, found mostly in South Africa. The black rhino is faster, reaching 45 kilometers an hour (28 miles per hour), and the white can speed along at 40 kilometers an hour (25 miles per hour). Oh, and remember the horns they carry, and imagine what kind of nonsense they could cause at ramming speed. Ruuunn!!!
Sources: savetherhino.org, en.wikipedia.org
They seem fat and lazy, usually submerged under water, their snouts sticking out for air. Or, they’re a character from childhood cartoons, wearing a pink tutu and dancing around. From fantasy to reality: hippos are fast and dangerous. Some even consider them the most lethal animal in Africa. On the ground, they can reach speeds up to 48 kilometers an hour (30 miles per hour). Hippos are also the third-largest land mammal species on the planet, after the elephant and the rhino, weighing an average of 7,900 pounds (3,600 kilos). Stay awaaaay!!
Probably the most graceful high-speed sprinters, giraffes have a gait that shows off their leggy, limber elegance. Their forelegs are at least 10-percent longer than their hind legs, and they cannot maintain a high speed for long. But they can sure run away quick if there’s a lion around: 52 kilometers an hour or 32 miles per hour. Giraffes can also deliver a swift kick to any predator, so best to leave them be while they chew on leaves.
These little monsters usually get what they want, food wise, with an 85-percent hunting success rate. Found mostly in savannas, they’re known by myriad names including Cape hunting dog, African painted dog and ornate wolf. Talk about speed maintenance. They can run up to 45 kilometers an hour (28 miles per hour) for at least five kilometers (three miles), and can pump it up to 64 kilometers an hour…that’s about 40 miles per hour. Move over, FloJo!
These animals almost appear to be lying down in the air with all fours legs spread while they run from their enemy, the cheetah. The males weigh less than the females, therefore are able to run faster. The top running speed is 52 kilometers an hour (about 33 miles per hour). This marvel of nature can also make sharp turns, and is found mostly in the Serengeti. There are close to 500,000 in existence. Run for your life, Thommie!
Sources: speedofanimals.com, en.wikipedia.org
This bird can’t fly in the air, but it can certainly soar across the ground. The only surviving species of its family of birds, it is also the fastest-moving bipedal animal on the planet. Found in South and Southwest Africa, and also across the entire north-central region of the continent, it rushes along at its highest speed of 72 kilometers an hour (45 miles per hour). Ostriches are famous for predator evasion by hiding their heads in the sand — not out of clueless fear, but because when they’ve buried their head and neck and lie down flat, they appear from afar to be rocks or lumps of dirt. Watch out for their kick, too!
Sources: en.wikipedia.org, speedofanimals.com
When you have a reason to run fast — you do. Wildebeests are the favored prey of cheetahs and lions. Though their eyesight is poor, they travel in packs on land and ford rivers using “swarm intelligence” instinct, making it less likely to be slaughtered if they move as one. When necessary, they can reach maximum speeds of 80 kilometers an hour (50 miles per hour). Still, they’re no match for their top predators, the speed-race kings and queens of Africa.
“Panthera Leo,” as they’re known in scientific categorization, are African royalty. Lacking in stamina, they’re strategic hunters unable to run long distances at high speed. Lionesses are swifter and more agile than lions, and are responsible for kills for the pride. At her top speed, the lioness can run 81 kilometers an hour…about 50 miles per hour.
Source: africafreak.com, speedofanimals.com
Faster than Mario Andretti behind the wheel, this cat is No. 1. Not only the fastest moving thing with a heart in Africa, but on the planet, the cheetah is truly like a sports car. It can increase its speed from zero to 64 miles per hour (103 kilometers an hour) in three seconds. Using their retractable claws for proper ground grippage and tails for changing direction, cheetahs will get up to 75 miles an hour if really hungry. All hail the NASCAR carnivore of the pride lands.
Sources: speedofanimals.com, en.wikipedia.org, africafreak.com