cheetahs are one of the most agile animals in the world

Speed is an adaptation that animals have that plays a big part in their survival. Most highly agile animals are at the top of the food chain, yet, there are also a few species from the very bottom.

Whether they are prey or predators, animals use this physical trait for everyday survival.

We are going to talk about the most agile animals in all three mediums – water, land, and air. Scientists have studied these animals over the years to understand their adaptation.

So, what are the most agile animals in the world?

  • Cheetahs 
  • Ostriches
  • Sailfish
  • Peregrine Falcons
  • Pronghorns
  • Gray Foxes
  • Swordfish
  • Cape Hunting Dogs
  • Golden Eagles
  • Thomson Gazelles

List of Most Agile Animals

Cheetahs

Class – Mammals

Maximum Speed – 70 mph (112 km/h)

If there were a 100m race among the land animals, the cheetah would emerge victoriously. It is one of the most agile animals alive, reaching up to 70 miles per hour to reach its prey. These cats have the title of fastest land animal, and this is one of the reasons cheetahs are at the top of their food chains.

Cheetahs are found in north, south, and east Africa, with smaller groups found in parts of Asia. They have long and slim bodies that help in their speed since they can sprint long distances in short bursts.

However, despite their agility abilities, these animals can only run fast in short distances since the race consumes a lot of their energy, so they get tired quickly.

Related: Galloping Animals

Ostriches

Class – Aves

Maximum Speed – 43 mph (69 km/h)

While they don’t have the ability to fly, these birds use their long and strong legs to run very fast over short distances. They are currently the largest birds on earth, thanks to their long legs, necks, and large bodies.

Ostriches can reach a speed of up to 43 miles per hour, primarily contributed by their long legs. It is recorded that they can cover a distance of up to five meters in one stride. They use this speed to get away from predators in the wild.

Apart from running, they sometimes use their powerful legs to kick and injure their hunters, which is why they are so dangerous. Ostriches are native to the semi-arid areas of eastern, southern, and west Africa.

Sailfish

Class – Fish

Maximum Speed – 68 mph (109 km/h)

This is the fastest fish in the ocean that can swim up to 68 miles per hour, which is almost as fast as the cheetah but in water. They are relatively large fish with a streamlined body and head, which is considered to be the reason it swims so fast.

While they are not at the top of their food chain since they are hunted by bigger fish such as the shark, they are still predators in their own right. These agile fish use their long bills to slice through their prey. It also comes in handy when fighting predators since they can puncture their bodies and cause serious injuries.

Peregrine Falcons

Class – Aves

Maximum Speed – 180 mph (289 km/h)

The peregrine falcon is considered the fastest bird that can get to a speed of over 180 mph during a dive when hunting prey. When cruising, they can reach speeds of up to 60mph due to their streamlined bodies when flying and long, prominent wings.

In addition, they have an evolved breastbone to help create solid muscles and stiff feathers that remain in place to reduce drag. Falcons hunt small rodents, rabbits, and other small birds when diving.

Pronghorns

Class – Mammals

Maximum Speed – 60 mph (96 km/h)

They are one of the most agile prey animals in the wild since they can reach speeds of up to 60mph. They are relatively small and hooved and are often preyed upon by leopards and wolves found in North America – their habitat.

Pronghorns’ speed is their most incredible savior since no predators can run that fast in North America. It is recorded that they evolved together with the American Cheetah, which is now extinct.

Apart from defensive use, their agility also comes in handy when they travel long distances in search of food. They can migrate up to 300 miles to areas that are not snowing yet so they can get grass.

Gray Foxes

Class – Mammals

Maximum Speed – 42 mph (67 km/h)

This is a small predator that is found in parts of north and central America. Thanks to its small and slender body, it is pretty fast and can run to speeds up to 42mph.

While it is pretty fast, it cannot hunt large prey due to its small size. This is why its diet mainly consists of small animals such as wild rabbits, mice, and shrews.

Gray foxes have a unique ability to climb trees and even jump from one branch to another, which is unusual for canines. However, this allows them to eat eggs found in nests and even small birds. It supplements its meals with fruit and sometimes vegetables when it cannot hunt enough meat.

Swordfish

Class – Fish

Maximum Speed – 54 mph (87 km/h)

Like their counterparts, the sailfish, swordfish is a contender for the fastest fish in the sea due to their agility. It is recorded that they can swim up to 62mph, but it is more realistically 54mph, according to recent studies.

Their streamlined bodies play the most significant part in ensuring that they can swim fast over long distances. The sword on their heads helps reduce drag when swimming, which allows them to be faster than regular fish.

Swordfish can also prevent bubbles from forming on their fins which reduces the speed of any fish considerably. They also secrete a special oil from the pores on their bodies which also helps them glide through the water much faster.

Cape Hunting Dogs

Class – Mammals

Maximum Speed – 45 mph (72 km/h)

It is also known as the African wild dog, which is an animal native to Africa only. It is an endangered canine since there are only less than 3,000 of them remaining in the world.

They are quite small, weighing less than 70 pounds, and can reach a speed of 45 miles per hour, making them one of the fastest dogs in the world.

Cape hunting dogs use their agility for hunting small prey such as wild hare, squirrels, and rats. Like most canines, they prefer to live in packs that they also hunt in, allowing them to kill slightly bigger prey such as impala.

Golden Eagles

Class – Aves

Maximum Speed – 100 mph (160 km/h)

It is a large bird native to North America, Africa, and Europe. With its wings reaching at least five feet across, making it one of the most agile birds in the air. During their aerial dive, the golden eagle can reach a speed of over 100 mph, according to research by Cornell Lab.

Golden eagles can do this when coming from high places such as mountain peaks or long trees in the forests. Their speed allows them to become adequate hunters since they can pick up their prey without their knowledge. They also use their dive to impress a mate during courtship and also to play. They are

Thomson Gazelles

Class – Mammals

Maximum Speed – 60 mph (96 km/h)

Among the fastest agile prey in the wild is the elusive Thomson gazelle, which can be identified by its black stripe on the side of its body. It is relatively small, making it fast, getting to speeds of up to 60 mph, helpful when running away from predators.

Apart from their speed, these agile animals are often seen utilizing a zig-zag strategy to avoid being caught by different predators.

This gazelle is primarily found in Africa, where lions, cheetahs, and leopards hunt it. However, unlike their predators, who can only run fast in short distances, this animal has the stamina to go on for much longer.

Conclusion

There are so many agile animals found in the wild that use their speed for survival. The above list only compiles a few that stand out from the rest. They are among the many animals that use their agility to the best of their abilities.

And that’s about it. Thank you for reading this article, if you liked this kind of post, I would like to recommend you a similar read – Animals That Slither

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