How fast can animals run?

A few years ago, the American scientist and explorer Roy Chapman Andrews came to India as the leader of an expedition team. One day he was driving a jeep near the India-Nepal border. He saw a cheetah there. He steered his jeep towards the cheetah. On seeing the jeep, the cheetah started running. Andrews decided to make a test of its speed. He accelerated the speed of his jeep towards the cheetah at a rate of 80 kms per hour but still the jeep remained behind the cheetah. Even at the speed of 100 kms per hour the animal was ahead of the jeep till it disappeared into the Jungle. From this incident one can conclude that the speed of the cheetah was more than 100 kms per hour.

Over a short distance, (i.e. upto 550 metres or 600 yds) the cheetah or hunting leopard of the open plains of East Africa, Iran, India, Turkmenia and Afghanistan has a maximum speed of 96-101 km per hour (60-63 miles) on level ground. Speeds upto 145 km per hour (90 miles) have been claimed for this animal, but these figures are considered to be exaggerated. Black buck comes next. It is a kind of deer. The third place goes to Mongolian gazelle and the pronghorn – the two species of deers. They can run at a speed of 95 kms (60 miles) per hour. Lion occupies the fourth place. It can run at a speed of 88 kms (55 miles) per hour.

Rabbit and fox can run at a speed of about 75 kms (47 miles) per hour. Horse, zebra and grey-hound can run at the speed of 64 kms (40 miles) per hour. Buffalo and hare can run at the speed of 55 kms per hour while giraffe and wolf at a speed of 50 kms per hour. The speed of elephant is 40 kms per hour. Kangaroo and sheep can run at a speed of 64 and 25 kms respectively while camel and pig can run at 18 kms per hour. The speeds of the four-legged animals given above are based on the tests conducted by a large number of researchers.

These animals cannot run at these speeds for a very long time. At the most they can cover a distance of a few kilometers at these speeds.