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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

4 Fastest Land Animals in the World that Reside in Africa

While counting land animals with the fastest speed in the world, it’s good to remember that speed is essential for African animals to outrun their predators for survival in the wild.

These fastest land animals are also the strongest, as they can break records with incredible speed, especially while pursuing their prey or outstripping predators.

Interestingly, this set of animals can run several miles per hour, and some different fantastic animals are spread across Africa’s vast landscape and can move pretty fast.

Below are the lists of the four world’s fastest land animals, among others that reside in Africa grassland.

1. Cheetah 

Cheetah is a large, slightly spotted cat and mammalian land animal native of Africa and central Iran. 

According to the world’s rating, Cheetah, with a small rounded head, long thin legs, and black tear-like facial streaks, is Africa’s fastest land resident.

Generally, the Cheetah stays on the ground but also climbs trees occasionally.

Origin of cheetah

Although research shows that the first cheetah migrated from North America about 4 million years back, it was first discovered in Africa, precisely in Zimbabwe grassland in 1926.

Its origin is attributable to many African countries like Sub-Saharan Africa, Namibia, Southern Algeria, Northern Niger, and Central Iran.

The meaning of the name ‘Cheetah,’ also spelled Chita: Cheeta emanated from a Hindi word, which means spotted one. 

Cheetah was first bred in India during the rule of the Mughal emperor Jahangir in the 16th century ago.

Its habitat is usually in the green lands, savannahs, and scrub, and it can survive for up to 15 to 20 years on earth. 

A baby cheetah is ‘a cub’, a female cheetah is ‘AlexandraAaaawww’ while a group of Cheetah, ‘a coalition.’

Classification of cheetah

Cheetah belongs to the member of the big cat family generally described as the fleet-footed inhabitants of the African savannahs.

It is a warm-blooded carnivorous animal that feeds on other animals, and its diet ranges from warthogs, antelopes, gazelles, hares, birds, wildebeest, impalas, rabbits, and so many other animals. 

Cheetah belongs to the genus species “Acinonyx jubatus,” with Acinonyx implying “no-move-claw” in Greek, and jubatus, meaning “maned” in Latin.

Speed range 

Another fastest land animal in Africa and on the planet is Cheetah, with a speed range that is second to none, especially while hunting its food.

The cheetah’s top speed is 70 miles per hour, and its speed limits range from 80 to 130km hours because of its flexible body nature. Also, it swims fast but only in critical situations or danger. 

According to records, cheetah’s fast speed ranges from 109.4 km/h (68.0 mph) to 128 km/h (80 mph), while the fastest reliable speed is 98 km/h (61 mph).

Physical nature 

The body size ranges from 112 – 150 cm, while its weight range from 46-159 pounds, but it all depends on its size. 

Cheetah has golden tan full coats with black spot color; long and sharp teeth for devouring prey. 

Also, it has about 2000 spots on its body, with each having a unique pattern and style.

Their tails range from 60 to 84 cm, and it has slender bones that allow them to run very fast. 

The social life

A Cheetah has a semi-social life meaning that most of the time, it likes staying on its own, unlike other animals that move in groups.

In terms of social life, the general categorization of a cheetah is mixed-bag, i.e., between social and solitary. Although they are usually on their own, they socialize when they want to mate or raise their younger ones.

Cheetah’s life cycle 

The life cycle of a cheetah encompasses three different stages listed below:

Cub stage: The cub stage is the period from birth to 18 months.

Adolescence: It begins from the age of 18 months to 12 years.

Adult life: It’s the last stage in the cheetah’s life, from 2 years until it dies.

Characteristics of cheetah 

A cheetah’s significant features include:

i. Its semi-retractable claws.

ii. Long tail

iii. Flexible spine.

iv. Long legs enabling it to run a very far distance per hour more than other animals. 

The subcategories of other characteristics which the cheetah exhibit include the following:

a. Makes meow sound

The cheetah makes a typical sound like a cat; such sounds include meow, purr, chirps, and curing sounds.

Unlike other carnivorous animals, the cheetah makes a pleasant sound, resulting from their stable voice box, and they don’t roar at all.

b. Sharp eyes 

One of the characteristics of the Cheetah is that it has a very sharp eye that helps it hunt.

Unlike a typical cat, Cheetah has sharp eyes that allow them to gaze at a far range and view things at a distance of over 210 degrees.

Interestingly, this animal can catch their prey even in the daytime.

c. Tear lines on the eye region

Cheetah has tear lines or cuts around the eye region, which run down to the mouth. The tear lines allow it to withstand the sun, unlike the cat and the rest of the animals. 

d. Natural camouflage 

Another unique character of a Cheetah is its spotted body or coated body which allows it to cope with its environment.

Also, the spot on their body enables them to hide from their enemies like Lion, Hyenas, Baboons, Jackals, and other dangerous animals. 

e. Eat more food than water.

Cheetah eats more food than water or drinks, dwelling more on younger or weaker animals to survive. 

They drink water once in three or four days because their primary interest is in food.

2. Wildebeest

The wildebeest is another fastest land animal, otherwise called Gnu Connochaetes. It has so many predators like lions, wild dogs, hyenas, and others.

There two species of wildebeests which include the black wildebeest, or whitetail wildebeest and the blue wildebeest, otherwise brindled wildebeest or Gnu. 

The common name for a group of wildebeest is “confusion.”

Speed range of wildebeest

Wildebeest is one of the fastest land mammals on the planet that can cover 40 miles per hour or 80km per hour.

They even run faster than lions, and amazingly, this set of animals learns to walk just a few minutes after they are born.

Classification of wildebeest

Wildebeest belongs to the Antelope family, such as the sheep, goat, and others, and they are herbivorous animals meaning that they feed on plants and grass to survive. 

It belongs to the mammalian class, land mammal, usually referred to as the giant African Antelopes, inhabiting mainly in plain grassy areas and open woodlands. 

Origin of the Wildebeest 

Wildebeest has been in existence for one million years ago, but the first places of discovery in Africa are Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. 

Eberhard August Wilhelm von Zimmermann, a German, first discovered wildebeest around 1780, while the Dutch settlers were the first to find it in Africa in 1700 during their journey to South Africa.

Then around the 1800s, the northern part of South Africa gets to know about the blue Wildebeest. 

The first people that discovered wildebeest in Africa named it wild ox due to its similar look to the wild cattle before the German zoologist Hinrich Lichtenstein named it Connochaetes in 1812. 

Generally, wildebeest is a native of Africa, and they have a higher rate of migration, moving in multitude to different parts of the continents.

The life cycle of a wildebeest

The black wildebeest carries the pregnancy for about 257 days. The reproduction of a single calf or wildebeest happens between the period of 8½ months per annum. 

Although the young calves can feed on grasses after ten days of birth, they feed on their mother’s milk for six months.

Wildebeests live up to 20 years; however, the male calves leave their mother after 12 months to dwell on their own, forming groups of bachelors. 

Physical features of wildebeest

In size, wildebeests range between 1.3 to 1.5 m, and their length is about 8 feet while their weight is from 330 to 550. 

Again, it measures up to 4.5 feet high, with even- toes and horns, like goat and sheep. 

Female wildebeest have a lighter brown color while the male has a natural brown color.

As mentioned above, the difference between the two wildebeest species is that the bleu wildebeest or the Gnu has dark grey color with stripes (although some may have a bluish sheen ), while the black one has a cream color tail and brown hair too.

Wildbeests’s social life 

Wildebeest is a friendly, territorial animal, unlike the cheetah, which is in-between. The female wildebeests and younger ones make up small herds with territories that are often overlapping.

Characteristics of a wildebeest

a. Reproduce at the beginning of the year

About 500 000 younger wildebeest or calves are born every beginning of the year between February and March.

b. Box-like head

Wildebeest, just like every other member of the Antelope family, has a big box-like head and not too short curving horns

c. Heavily built body

The wildebeest has a heavily built body like every other huge animal, and it also has a slender leg

d. Makes special sound

Wildebeest makes some exceptional sounds like ‘low’ and ‘moo.’

3. The Lion

Among the significant fastest land animals resident in Africa, the lion is one. 

They are called the giant cat on earth because they belong to the Felidae family of mammals in the order Carnivora, the powerful cats.

Speed range of a lion

Lion, aside from being brave, is one of the fastest land animals on earth that runs 80km per hour, and it can also run up to 50 mph and at the same time leap about 36 feet.

Classification of lion

The lion is a kingdom animal that emerged from the African continent, belonging to land mammals. It is a carnivorous, warm-blooded animal that feeds on other animals.

Lion is one of the land animals naturally inhabit in the ‘den.’ People call it ‘the king of the jungles’ because they have the raw powers and strength to get their food. 

Origin of lion

The lion came into existence about 320,000 to 190,000 years ago. However, the ancient Africans discovered the first lion on earth in Laetoli, Tanzania, East Africa, during the late Pliocene Epoch about a million years ago.

Various species of modern lions emerged from different parts of eastern and southern Africa 500,000 years ago.

Habitat and life cycle

Lion lives mainly in greenland and savannas up to 10 to 15 years before it dies, and it usually is active during the night, reproducing its younger ones every two years.

It carries the pregnancy for about 108 days, and it can bear to 1 to 5 cubs (younger lions) at once.

Lioness is the female counterpart, and a younger lion is “a cub,” while a group is called “a pride.”

Most of the lifetime of a lion is geared towards sleeping and resting and can sleep for 16 to 20 hours while staying awake at night.

Physical nature of a lion

A lion has a compact body and strong forelegs, too; it has sharp teeth and jaws, enabling it to devour its prey.

It has a yellow gold coat, and it weighs about 330 to 550 pounds, but it all depends on its age and size.

Its height measures about 3.5 – 4 feet for the female lions, while the male lions have up to 10 feet with their tail ranging from 2 to 3 feet.

Again a lion has a very sharp sight, even more than human beings, that enables it to see prey in a far distance.

The social life of a lion

Lion is among the sociable animals that are friendly with one another, so we always see them in groups.

They are goal-oriented land mammals that are ever-focused and love challenges too.

They relate through several sounds like roars, grunts, moans, growls, snarls, purrs, hums, puffs, and woofs.

Characteristics of Lion

  • They are brave 

Lions are a brave set of animals with four sights, and they are always courageous too, which is why they can challenge any animal despite its size. 

Also, the lion is never afraid of fighting, and every other animal in the jungle is scared of it.

  • Always protective

Lions are protective, always protecting their territories as well as their younger ones in all situations. 

  • They are hunters

In general, lions are official hunters who look for weaker animals to hunt as food for themselves and their families.

  • It is an apex predator.

It is one unique character of a lion; it hunts most animals vividly in the jungle, and a few animals merely defeat it in the forest.

Although the lion is the “king of the jungle,” it has predators like hyenas, wild dogs, crocodiles, cheetah, etc.

4. Thomson’s gazelle

Thomson’s gazelle is among the most familiar gazelles that move swiftly and jump at a very high speed before fleeing. 

It is among the land mammals that have a fast speed and is resident in Africa. 

You can spot Thompson’s gazelle in different parts of Africa moving in a group exceeding 200,000.

Although this land animal moves slowly, it can cover a breakneck speed within an hour.

They are warm-blooded animals, too, meaning they maintain a body temperature higher than their environment.

Classification of Thomson’s gazelle

Another fastest land animal is Thomson’s gazelle, a species of Antelope, under mammals in the family of the Bovidae.

Thomson’s gazelle is of two types: the Grant Gazelle and the Thomson’s gazelle. It all belongs to the herbivorous class, which means it feeds on herbs and green grass.

Its scientific name is ‘Eudorcas thomsonii,’ and it lives mostly in eastern Africa, mainly Kenya, and the Serengeti and Ngorongoro in Tanzania.  

Speed Range of Thomson’s gazelle 

As the fourth fastest land animal, Thomson’s gazelle runs up to 55 miles per hour, that is, 80 – 90 km/h (50–55 mph)  

Origin of Thomson’s gazelle

A British geologist, Joseph Thomson, explored and named the land mammal Thomson gazelle, in other words, Tommie. 

It emerged from the eastern part of Africa so many years ago, which is their central inhabitant on the continent.

Life cycle

The Thomson’s gazelle has a gestation period of 166 days, lives up to 10 to 15 years, mainly in savannah and grassland.

The female Thomson’s gazelle carry their pregnancy for about 280 days and give birth to one or two young ones at once.

It has many predators such as cheetahs, cape dogs, leopards, wolves, and others.

Thomson’s gazelle only sleep for one hour every 24 hours and it occasionally swims when there is danger.

A group of Thomson’s gazelle is called a ‘herd’; their young ones are ‘fawns or calves.

Physical nature of a Thomson’s gazelle

Thomson’s gazelle has a permanent horn; the two classes of Gazelle have a brown and white color.

Thomson’s gazelle is a strong, tall (60 – 90 centimeters tall) and agile animal measuring 70 to 110 cm in length.

Again, the weight of this land mammal ranges between 26 – 187 pounds, in other words, 12 – 85 kg.

Conversely, one can say that Thomson’s gazelle stands around two and a half feet tall with a shoulder length of 2 feet long.

Social Life of Thomson’s gazelle

Thomson’s gazelle is a social animal that associates with one another where they live in herds.

Over 200 Thomson’s gazelle can migrate from one location to another in search of water or food.

Characteristics of Thomson’s gazelle

a. They are pretty silent animals 

Thomson’s gazelle communicates primarily with signs and signals, unlike other animals that are lousy.

 They relate to each other by wangling and flipping of tails.

b. They are wet feeders.

Thomson’s gazelle eats green grass during the rainy season, while they feed on browse in the dry season, especially from bushes, clovers, and foliage.

c. Signals in danger

They flick their tails when they sight or sense danger.

Bottom Line 

The above-listed land animals exhibit a speed rate that is second to none, and that is why they are the fastest in Africa among others.

We also curated unique features, life cycles, physical characteristics, and other things readers need to enable you can study everything in one goal.

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