It’s well known that Jamaican sprinter and 100m world record holder, Usain Bolt, is the fastest human on Earth. But how does he compare to his speedy animal counterparts? Bolt’s world record of 9.58 seconds for the 100m race in Berlin 2009 (as shown in the video above) places him at a top speed of 30 mph with an average speed of 23.5 mph. However, these six animals listed from slowest to fastest, leave him in the dust, reaching double and even triple the top speeds that Bolt would only dream of ever achieving. When it comes to speed efficiency, Bolt could learn a thing or two from his furry friends.
1. North African Ostrich
North African Ostriches are the fastest birds on land. Their ability to reach up to speeds of 40 mph allows them to outrun predators, which makes up for their inability to fly. They’re also incredibly amusing to watch.
There’s a reason why greyhound racing exists. The long and lean body of a greyhound, allows it to extend its body and cover more ground. Only a little faster than the North African Ostrich, greyhounds can reach a top speed of 43 mph.
3. Thoroughbred Racehorse
The fastest thoroughbred racehorse has reached top speeds of 55mph, almost double that of Usain Bolt’s 100m world record top speed. However, thoroughbred’s aren’t just fast, they’re also known for their stamina and can maintain a pace of 16 mph for 60 miles. Talk about the ultimate ultra marathoner.
4. Pronghorn Antelope
Often confused with its cousin the springbok, the pronghorn has evolved interlocking joints that make it unable to jump. However, this same evolutionary adaptation has made it an extremely efficient runner. The pronghorn can consume between six to 10 liters of oxygen per minute, which is five times faster than most mammals its size. This in turn allows them to burn more oxygen and reach tops speeds of 55 mph.
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Sarah, a cheetah residing at the Cincinnati zoo is undoubtedly the fastest of all land mammals. On June 20, 2012 she ran 100m in 5.95 seconds with a top speed of 61 mph. That’s nearly 4 seconds faster than Bolt’s 100m world record and more than double his top speed.
6. Peregrine Falcon
Although not a land animal (and perhaps harder to compare a flying bird to a human running on foot) the Peregrine Falcon’s prowess in speed is mind blowing. If Bolt were to choose to be any animal, it would be the Peregrine Falcon. Faster than a sports car, this small predator can reach up to a top speed of 161 mph. That’s five times faster than Bolt’s top speed.