Two fun things to think about, animal explorers.
First, humankind isn’t the only animal to walk or run on two legs.
Second, speed on two legs isn’t just a casual thing in the animal kingdom, far from it.
Speed while running or sprinting can be a matter of life or death. It determines if an animal can escape a predator or catch up to its potential food.
So what’s the fastest two-legged animal in the world?
The fastest two-legged animal in the world, the ostrich, is a lightning-quick runner, sprinting at 72 kilometers per hour. Its long legs enable it to cover up to 5 meters in a single stride.
In our article below, we will dive into the subject deeper. Enjoy our look at the top 6 fastest bipedal animals in the world.
Fastest Two-Legged Animals in the World
- Scientific Name: Struthio camelus
- Habitat: Savannas, semiarid plains
- Maximum Speed: 72 km/h (44 mph)
On top of its incredible speed, the ostrich also takes huge strides. When running at the highest speeds, the bird can cover between 3 and 5 meters in a single stride, allowing it to move large distances and close the chase quickly.
While these flightless birds are best known for running, they can also fight when needed.
These animals with strong legs can deliver a front kick capable of killing a human or even a lion.
Considering their size, this may not come as a surprise to you.
The Africa-based bird grows between 1.8 and 2.75 meters in height, has a 2-meter wingspan and weighs over 150 kilograms.
While reading, don’t forget that the fastest human sprinter, Usain Bolt, has been clocked at just under 44 kilometers an hour.
So the ostrich clearly has humankind beat in the speed contest! And that includes our gold medal at the Olympics, winning the fastest runner!
- Scientific Name: Macropodidae
- Habitat: Savannas, woodlands, plains, forests
- Maximum Speed: 69 km/h (42 mph)
Technically, kangaroos are two-legged animals that don’t run. They hop.
Yet, they are still remarkably fast, hitting 25 kilometers per hour comfortably, with the fastest healthy adult males breaking 69 kilometers an hour.
In addition, kangaroos can jump high and far, too, breaking the three-meter high mark and reaching an eye-opening 12 meters in length.
That’s a lot of hopping!
These jumping animals can grow to over two meters tall, making them the world’s tallest marsupials – larger adults can weigh around 90 kilograms.
Have you ever seen a kangaroo box? This isn’t something that’s just in movies.
Kangaroos box and brawl in the wild to establish who is responsible for their communities and also during mating rituals.
The Rhea Bird
- Scientific Name: Rhea americana
- Habitat: Semiarid scrublands, grasslands, open pampas
- Maximum Speed: 64 km/h (39 mph)
Rheas are the largest South American birds, growing up to 1.5 meters in height. They resemble ostriches both in appearance and in being quite quick on their two feet.
Rheas are some of the fastest-running birds, reaching an impressive 64 kilometers per hour! In fact, they are considered the second-fastest birds thanks to their strong legs and broad wings, which enable them to move forward more swiftly.
In addition, these large flightless birds can cover up to five meters in a single stride.
Rheas prefer to spend their time in open, flat land, mostly in Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. The lack of obstruction in their habitat allows them to use their incredible speed to prevent them from becoming a predator’s lunch or dinner!
- Scientific Name: Dromaius novaehollandiae
- Habitat: Forests, grasslands, heathlands, plains
- Maximum Speed: 49 km/h (30 mph)
Speaking of the fastest animals on two legs, we must not forget emus.
With an average weight of 1.7 meters, emus are the second-largest and, at the same time, one of the fastest birds on the planet.
These giants are equipped with powerful calf muscles, allowing them to travel at 49 kilometers per hour. It is also said that their endurance is quite impressive, as they can travel great distances without resting.
In addition, the stride of an emu can be as long as 2.5 meters.
Interestingly, their legs are not only a means of transport but also the primary defensive weapons.
To put it simply, just one well-placed leg kick can lead to fatal consequences, even for the most powerful predators in the wilderness.
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- Scientific Name: Gorilla
- Habitat: Tropical and subtropical forests
- Maximum Speed: 40 km/h (24 mph)
While the height range of a gorilla is close to a man’s, ranging between 1.2 meters and 1.8 meters, they are quite a bit more massive and muscular than even our largest bodybuilders, topping off at over 220 kilograms.
This innate athleticism can be seen when clocking their land speed. The adult gorilla runs at 40 kilometers an hour.
Such a combination of strength and speed makes our distant evolutionary kin a two-legged animal worthy of respect.
However, gorillas can’t maintain this kind of speed for long. So, on flat terrain, a person who runs fast has a chance of being able to win the sprinting contest.
The problem is that gorillas rarely live in flat, easy-to-maneuver environments.
- Scientific Name: Macropodidae
- Habitat: Forests, woodlands, swampy areas
- Maximum Speed: 25 km/h (15 mph)
The last members on our list of the fastest animals on two legs are wallabies.
Found in Australia and its surrounding islands, wallabies belong to the kangaroo family and grow to about half the size of a human (with a chosen few getting close to two meters tall).
Like their larger relatives, wallabies use hopping as a primary means of movement.
The two-legged hopping animal can reach a maximum speed of 48 kilometers per hour. While in cruising mode, they move at 25 kilometers per hour.
When they hop at the highest speeds, these marsupials can cover 4 meters in a single stride!
Wallabies are herbivores, following a vegetarian diet by munching on grass and plants. Their speed and quick reaction time are more of a defensive trait. Hunting isn’t their thing.
With a maximum speed of 72 kph, ostriches are the fastest bipedal animals on the planet. Kangaroos are in the second position, able to reach a full movement speed of 69 kph movement speed.
And that’s our list of the top 6 fastest two-legged animals in the world.
Thank you for reading.
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