How fast do these animals go?

cheetah and gazelle running
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From the cheetah to the hare, so many creatures are wickedly quick. Test your trivia smarts on what makes them so swift.

Question 1 of 12

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peregrine falcon
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The peregrine falcon is considered the fastest bird when it comes to:

Other birds might soar faster when flying horizontally, but the peregrine is unparalleled when it comes to diving speed. With an assist from gravity, the peregrine has been clocked at more than 200 mph. The combination of long, narrow, pointed wings, a streamlined shape, and strong chest muscles help to make this bird what some say is the fastest animal on the planet.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a falconer once clocked his pet at an impressive 242 mph.

Question 2 of 12

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How fast has the Mexican free-tailed bat been known to fly?

Until recently, the speed record for horizontal flight was held by speedy fliers from the swift family. But researchers found that the aerodynamic shape and longer-than-average wings of the Mexican free-tailed bat (also known as the Brazilian free-tailed bat) made it the fastest flier.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology attached tiny radio transmitters to bats with adhesive that fell off after a couple days. The clocked the night-time fliers at speeds just over 99 mph.

Question 3 of 12

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cheetah running
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How does the cheetah's tail help with running?

Cheetahs use their tails like a rudder on a boat: to help keep their balance and to steer themselves when running very fast, according to the Cheetah Conservation Fund.

Cheetahs have been credited with various impressive speeds, but Sarah, a female cheetah at the Cincinnati Zoo, ran a record-breaking 100 meters in 5.95 seconds. She was radar-timed at up to 61 mph by National Geographic while recording her swift feat.

Watch Sarah run:

Question 4 of 12

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Two frigatebirds in the sky
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Incredibly fast frigate birds are famous for:

With speeds at up to about 95 mph, the fascinating frigatebird is more than just fast. The bird is known to heckle other birds in hopes of forcing the heckled bird spit out the fish they're carrying so the frigatebird can dive for it.

The birds purposefully fly into clouds to catch rides on updrafts. They can fly continuously for weeks thanks to their unusual bodies. They have the highest ratio of wing surface area to body weight, something known as "wing loading."

Question 5 of 12

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pronghorn antelope
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The pronghorn antelope is the fastest mammal in:

Native to North America, pronghorn antelope are the fastest mammals on the continent. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, when one pronghorn was chased by a car, it kept a speed of 60 mph for two miles before dropping to 50 mph and eventually slowing down to 40 mph.

These fast antelope often average 35 mph for distances of about 27 miles.

Question 6 of 12

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fawn greyhound running in a field
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Greyhounds are the fastest dogs. About how fast can they run?

Bred to race, it's no wonder the greyhound is the world's fastest dog. Speed of Animals explains the physical characteristics that give this cat-like canine its ability: "A combination of long, powerful legs, deep chest, flexible spine and slim build allow it to reach average race speeds in excess of 18 meters per second (59 feet per second) or 65 kilometres per hour (40 mph)."

Question 7 of 12

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brown hare
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There are several situations where a tortoise would beat a hare in a race.

The brown hare (pictured here) books along at speeds up to 45 mph while the slow-and-steady tortoise moves at about .17 mph. The only race where the tortoise would win would be one of longevity, points out the BBC. A hare lives for about seven years whereas a tortoise can live for 150 years.

Question 8 of 12

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horsefly
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The world's fastest insects are often known as gadflies, zimbs or clegs. You likely know them as:

The horsefly isn't discriminatory; it will bite people as well as animals. And you won't likely outrun them. These large, noisy insects can fly at speeds of more than 90 mph.

Question 9 of 12

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quarter horse stallion
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The quarter horse is faster than the thoroughbred.

Although thoroughbreds have the reputation for speed, its the stockier quarter horse that's the fastest equine. The quarter horse got its name because of its incredible sprinting speed on 1/4-mile tracks. Racing at speeds up to 55 mph, quarter horses can cover 1/4 mile in less than 21 seconds, starting at a standstill, according to the American Quarter Horse Association. By contrast, thoroughbreds hit about 40 mph, but they can typically maintain those speeds for longer distances.

Question 10 of 12

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kangaroo hopping
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Kangaroos burn less energy the faster they hop.

The San Diego Zoo says kangaroos work like a perpetual motion machine. They're able to keep moving without exerting much energy. They burn less the faster they hop, up to their cruising speed of about 20 mph.

It's a combination of powerful leg muscles and tendons that attach from their tail to their hipbones that work in conjunction to make kangaroos move so efficiently.

Question 11 of 12

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leaping sailfish
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Considered the fastest marine animal, the sailfish has been clocked at what speed:

The sailfish is the world's fastest swimmer, clocked at an impressive 68 mph, which is faster than many of us drive on the highway. To be fair, however, that speed includes the's fish highly acrobatic leaps out of the water.

Question 12 of 12

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Thomson gazelle leaping
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When it notices a predator, the Thomson's gazelle will perform 'stotting.' What is that?

Like other gazelles, the Thomson's gazelle will perform stotting or pronking when it is confronted by prey. The maneuver is an acrobatic series of repeated leaps with all four legs held out stiff and straight. Researchers believe that the action is a signal to predators of the gazelle's energy and ability to outrun them, which may deter them from getting involved in a lengthy chase, says the BBC.

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