Cheetahs: The World's Fastest Land Animal | AWF (2023)

About the Author

Cheetahs: The World's Fastest Land Animal | AWF (1)

Sydney wasa summer intern with AWF. She is entering her senior year of high school and has a passion for wildlife conservation. She hopes to one day be a wildlife vet.


Cheetahs: The World's Fastest Land Animal | AWF (2)

(Video) Cheetahs - World's Fastest Animal | National Geographic

I have to admit, I’m not usually a big fan of cats. But, for whatever reason, I cannot help but be captivated by cheetahs. Maybe it’s their grace and agility or maybe it’s just the face of a cheetah cub, but I think these cats are incredible.

Cheetahs are the world’s fastest land animal, capable of reaching speeds of up to 70 mph. Standing at about 30 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing between 110 and 140 pounds, they have long, graceful legs; a small, rounded head on a long neck; a very flexible spine; a deep chest; special pads on their feet that help with traction; and a long tail that is used for balance at top speed. The cheetah is also the only cat that cannot retract its claws, providing more traction. They also have distinctive black “tear tracks” that run from the corner of each eye to their mouth and provide anti-glare protection for daytime hunting.

In short, cheetahs are built for speed, grace, and hunting.

Cheetahs mainly prey on small antelopes such as Thomson’s gazelles and impalas, although they will also hunt small mammals and birds. When a cheetah hunts, it gets as close as possible to its prey before trying to outrun it with a burst of speed. The cheetah then uses its paw to swipe the animal to the ground and then suffocates it with a bite to the neck.

It then eats as quickly as possible while looking out for scavengers such as lions, leopards, hyenas, vultures, and jackals, who will steal from the very shy cheetah.

(Video) These Are 10 Fastest Animals On This Planet

Unlike most other cats, cheetahs prefer to hunt during the day, particularly early morning or early evening.

Cheetahs: The World's Fastest Land Animal | AWF (3)

Most of the time, cheetahs are solitary animals. On occasion, a male will hang out with a female after mating, but other than that, the female is either with her cubs or by herself.

Cubs spend a long time with their mothers as they learn to hunt. Mom will bring a small, live antelope back to her cubs so they can chase and catch it.

Unfortunately, there is a very high cub mortality rate among cheetahs. Approximately 50-75% die in the first three months of life because they are so susceptible to disease and predators such as eagles, hyenas, and lions.

(Video) Wildlife Instincts | Cheetah - The Fastest Animal on Earth | Free Documentary Nature

Cheetahs are currently classified as “vulnerable” by the IUCN. In 1900, an estimated 100,000 cheetahs could be found across Africa. Now, there are about 7,500 adults left in the wild; the population has decreased by about 30% just in the past 18 years.

The high cub mortality rate is only one problem for cheetahs, though; they also face a lot of human-wildlife conflict and habitat loss.

Over the years, the cheetah’s habitat has shrunk dramatically, and it is now only 25% of its former size. Where they do live (mostly Eastern and Southern Africa), they tend to be found widely but sparsely.

Cheetahs: The World's Fastest Land Animal | AWF (4)

Cheetahs live where their prey is: the open plains. However, as the human populations grow and people expand agriculture and civilization into the grassland, more and more of the cheetahs’ habitat is disappearing.

(Video) The Cheetah is the Fastest Animal in the World

The other problem cheetahs are currently facing is human-wildlife conflict. As people expand into the cheetahs’ habitat, their usual prey is disappearing as well, forcing them to prey on livestock. This causes farmers to view them as pests and kill them in retaliation.

To help combat these problems, AWF is working to engage communities and minimize human-wildlife conflict.

By teaching communities that share space with cheetahs how to farm and expand sustainably and providing incentives for using the best practices, AWF is encouraging the people and animals are able to coexist peacefully. AWF is also helping to construct predator-proof bomas (livestock enclosures) to prevent the livestock from as much harm as possible. When cheetahs do kill livestock, farmers are given consolation funding so that they can replace the dead animal without having to seek revenge against the cheetahs.

In addition, AWF is also working to set aside land for conservation to ensure the cheetah will always have a place to live. When the Satao Elerai Lodge was opened in Kenya, the local Maasai community who owns the lodge agreed to set aside the surrounding area for conservation, and now the business and the land is thriving.

Also in Kenya, AWF is working with landowners in the Amboseli region to set aside land to create a wildlife corridor between Amboseli National Park and Chyulu Hills and Tsavo West National Park. By paying landowners for each acre set aside for wildlife, AWF is making sure that animals can continue to use their traditional routes without coming into harm’s way.

(Video) Why Are Cheetahs the Fastest Land Animal?

By working with the people who live side by side with cheetahs, we can help make sure these majestic creatures will be around for generations to come.

All photos courtesy of Robyn Gianni


Is there any animal faster than cheetah? ›

Whereas the cheetah is the fastest sprinter, the pronghorn, also known as the American antelope, is the fastest long-distance runner of the animal kingdom. It is capable of maintaining a speed of nearly 35 miles per hour over several miles and is even faster over shorter distances.

What is the 1 fastest animal in the world? ›

The fastest land animal is the cheetah. The peregrine falcon is the fastest bird, and the fastest member of the animal kingdom, with a diving speed of 389 km/h (242 mph). Among the fastest animals in the sea is the black marlin, with uncertain and conflicting reports of recorded speeds.

Which animal can beat cheetah in speed? ›

Pronghorn can sustain blazing speeds for miles, and in a distance, run would easily beat a cheetah without breaking a sweat.

Can an ostrich beat a cheetah? ›

The flightless ostrich is no slouch either. Ostriches would not beat cheetahs over 100 metres, but unlike the explosive cats, which tire after about a minute, an ostrich can sustain a speed of about 50km/h for as long as 30 minutes. The fastest fish are also quicker than a cheetah.

Is a golden eagle faster than a cheetah? ›

Unfortunately, the cat's sprinting distance is only about 0.28 miles. Comparatively, a cheetah is around 2.7 times faster than the quickest human runner.
Key Points:
Faster Animals than A CheetahSpeed
Golden Eagle150–200 mph
White-Throated Needletail Swift105 mph
Eurasian Hobby100 mph
Mexican Free-Tailed Bat100 mph
6 more rows
Mar 5, 2023

Is A Jaguar stronger than a cheetah? ›

Jaguars are larger and stronger than cheetahs, and they have longer fangs than cheetahs. However, cheetahs are far quicker than a jaguar. Both animals have unique spot patterns on their fur, but jaguars can also appear as a completely black morph that is commonly called a black panther.

What animal can run the farthest? ›

1. Ostrich. The world's biggest bird is also the best marathon runner on the planet. While the official world record marathon time for a human is just below 2 hours, 3 minutes, an ostrich could run a marathon in an estimated 45 minutes, according to Popular Mechanics.

What animal can jump the highest? ›

Which Animal Has the Highest Jump?
High JumpAnimalHeight
Marine mammalDolphin22.9 feet (7 meters)
Terrestrial animalCougar19.6 feet (6 meters)
Hoofed animalImpala *9.8 feet (3 meters)
Horse"Huaso" (1949)8.1 ft (2.47 m)
5 more rows

What is the world's fastest car? ›

In August 2019, Bugatti topped the formerly reigning Hennessey Venom F5. Not only that, but the Chiron Super Sport 300+ also became the first car to break 300 miles per hour on the track. The final record was 304.773 mph with racing driver Andy Wallace at the wheel on Volkswagen's Ehra-Lessien test track in Germany.

What animal hits the fastest? ›

And yet the mantis shrimp's finishes its strike in under three thousandths of a second, out-punching even its land-living namesake. If the animal simply flicked its arm out, like a human, it would never achieve such blistering speeds.

What is the fastest car? ›

Top 10 Fastest Cars in the World
  • SSC TUATARA : 283 MPH. ...
  • HENNESSEY VENOM F5 : 272 MPH. ...
  • BUGATTI VEYRON 16.4 SUPER SPORT : 268 MPH. Bugatti. ...
  • RIMAC NEVERA : 256 MPH. carwow. ...
  • MCLAREN SPEEDTAIL : 250 MPH. McLaren Automotive.

Can a human defeat a cheetah? ›

Can an average human kill a cheetah in a fight? Sure, it's possible, while a cheetah might be on the weaker side when it comes to big cats, they're still relatively strong and are capable of bringing down many large animals.

Can anything catch a cheetah? ›

Lions, leopards, and hyenas will try to prey upon cheetah, particularly cheetah cubs. Because they are so fast, adult cheetahs are difficult to catch.

Can a cheetah outrun Usain Bolt? ›

A cheetah is 45 miles per hour faster than Usain Bolt. While the answer may not surprise you, Usain Bolt is no match for a cheetah in terms of speed and agility. However, with adequate training, Usain Bolt may have enough endurance to beat a cheetah in an endurance or long-distance competition.

What is the 2 fastest animal in the world? ›

A pronghorn can run up to 60 miles per hour, which makes them the second-fastest land animal in the world (cheetah – 61 mph). Although second to the cheetah, the pronghorn can sustain its speed for much longer.

Can any human outrun a cheetah? ›

Narrator: Cheetahs are the fastest land animal in the world. But did you know that humans can leave them in the dust? At least, in the long run. That's right, when it comes to endurance, we can outrun wolves, cheetahs, and even horses.

What's the fastest thing in the world? ›

Light is fast. In fact, it is the fastest thing that exists, and a law of the universe is that nothing can move faster than light. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second (300,000 kilometers per second) and can go from the Earth to the Moon in just over a second.


1. World's Fastest Land Animal | Cheetah Facts | National Geographic Wild UK
(National Geographic UK)
2. Top 10 Fastest Animals in the World: Fastest Runners in the Animal Kingdom - FreeSchool
(Free School)
3. Cheetah - The World's Fastest Land Animal (Wildlife Documentary Film)
(Mother Nature TV)
4. Nature's Fastest Land Animal - Cheetahs in stunning 4K
(Nature and Us)
5. Cheetah Facts | The World’s Fastest Land Animal!
(Kenya Wild Parks)
6. The Fastest Animal On Earth Is Not A Cheetah
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kareem Mueller DO

Last Updated: 25/05/2023

Views: 5505

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (66 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kareem Mueller DO

Birthday: 1997-01-04

Address: Apt. 156 12935 Runolfsdottir Mission, Greenfort, MN 74384-6749

Phone: +16704982844747

Job: Corporate Administration Planner

Hobby: Mountain biking, Jewelry making, Stone skipping, Lacemaking, Knife making, Scrapbooking, Letterboxing

Introduction: My name is Kareem Mueller DO, I am a vivacious, super, thoughtful, excited, handsome, beautiful, combative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.