Animal Olympics: Who’s the Fastest?

With the Olympics on the horizon, it’s going to start being all about speed, strength and agility. Instead of the current Olympics that has just humans participating in it, how about we expand this competition to all animals? In this “Animal Olympics”, instead of the teams being split into countries, the teams are now split into the 6 general animal groups: amphibians, birds, fish, invertebrates, mammals and reptiles. Although these groupings are not particularly fair in terms of numbers, it makes for an exciting competition.

With this in mind, which animal group would win in a test of maximum speed, and what would their chosen representative be? Lets forget the obvious variables that make this race incredibly unfair for some contestants, such as the fact that some of the contestants have to run, some fly and some swim, as including such factors would hugely over-complicate matters in this case.

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[nextpage TITLE=”Sixth Place: Amphibians”]

Representative: Andean Salamander

Speed: 15 mph

Bolitoglossa_mexicana01
Image | Wikimedia Commons

Amphibians, look away now. Unfortunately, amphibians are not known for their speed, and it loses them this race. It is not widely know the fastest actual species, however it is thought to be a species of Andean salamander, which can reach speeds of about 15 mph.

[nextpage TITLE=”Fifth Place: Reptiles”]

Representative: Bearded Dragon

Speed: 25 mph

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Image | Wikimedia Commons

In second-to-last place, the reptiles. Bearded dragons are considered the fastest of their kind, reaching speeds of 25 mph. (They would also just about lose to Usain Bolt).

[nextpage TITLE=”Fourth Place: Mammal”]

Representative: Cheetah

Speed: 75 mph

You thought we wouldn’t include the classic speed demon of the savannah? The cheetah is well-known as the master of sprinting, and can reach speeds of over 75 mph during its short sprints to catch antelope.

[nextpage TITLE=”Bronze Medal: Fish”]

Mammals just miss out on a bronze medal. Having said that, cheetahs massively outpace the reptiles, and are the fastest terrestrial animals, running at speeds of up to 75 mph when chasing a meal.

Representative: Black Marlin

Speed:  80 mph

Clinching the bronze medal are the fish, with the black marlin the fastest of them all. The sailfish is sometimes thought to be the fastest fish, but reports of a black marlin pulling a fishing line away at 80 mph grant it top spot.

[nextpage TITLE=”Silver Medal: Invertebrates “]

Representative: Horsefly

Speed: 90 mph

Perhaps the only massive shock in this race, the invertebrates just about manage to get a silver medal. Not a lot is known about the speed of insects as it is so difficult to measure properly. As a result, many scientists have argued against the reports of horseflies reaching  mouth-watering speeds of 90 mph—hopefully in the future we will learn more about their athletic prowess.

[nextpage TITLE=”Gold Medal: Birds”]

Representative: Peregrine Falcon

Speed: 242 mph

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Image | flickr

The undisputed winner of this contest are the birds, with the peregrine falcon smashing the competition. With speeds of over 200 mph, no other animal group is close to their pace.

However, the birds do get a bit of help, from gravity. Like, I’m sure if you threw a cheetah off a plane, it could go pretty fast. Nevertheless, the peregrine falcon flies away with a gold medal, after a horribly unfair race.