Okay, we know we generally talk about fast cars on our site, but sometimes it is just necessary to admit there are faster things out there. In fact, there are some things that are surprisingly faster than your average motor vehicle so we deemed these things necessary in our TopSpeed world. In our first car vs. the world category, we present the fastest animal out there: the cheetah.
Sure, they’re cute and cuddly, but these overgrown cats are also wicked fast. A human can only hit a top speed of 25mph, while a greyhound can go up to 40mph. These two are followed by a racehorse that can hit 50mph and an antelope clocking in at 60mph. These numbers, however, are nothing compared to the graceful jungle cat called the cheetah. This statuesque animal can hit a top speed of 70-75 mph and can "sprint" from 0-60 mph in just three seconds. By comparison, a Bugatti Veyron has a sprint time of 2.46 seconds, an Audi R8 hits the 0-60 mph mark in 4.5 seconds, and a Ferrari 458 Italia does it in about about 3.1 seconds. Guess we know where these automakers are taking their inspiration from now!
UPDATE 06/06/11: We know that the cheetah is insanely fast, but how fast is the fastest cheetah in the world? The answer, apparently, can be found at the Cincinnati Zoo, which recorded the speed of a female cheetah - her name was Sarah - that covered 6.13 seconds, breaking the previous record set by Nyana, a male South African cheetah that clocked in 6.19 seconds back in 2001. You can check out the video of Sarah’s record-setting run after the jump.
Hit the jump to learn more about the cheetah.
gallery: Ferrari 458 Italia
An adult cheetah weighs between 36 to 65 kg (79 to 140 lb). Its total body length ranges from 115 to 135 cm (45 to 53 in), while the tail can measure up to 84 cm (33 in) in length. Cheetahs are 67 to 94 cm (26 to 37 in) in height at the shoulder. Compared to your typical super car, these dimensions are minuscule, but they get the animal where it needs to go, and fast. The giant cat is so fast that its tail, much like a rear spoiler, helps to balance the animal as it powers its long, super streamlined body. This body, which serves as the animal’s suspension of sorts, helps to control those quick turns when the cheetah is in pursuit of its prey. The cheetah’s powerful legs sprint the animal along, while its paws with their semi-retractable claws dig into the ground like a good set of high performance tires.
The cheetah is nature-provided with some of the best features known to man, but unfortunately, it is not a machine so it can only power out to no more than 800 meters before it gets overheated and has to stop. It’s similar to a car running out of gas, but it takes a bit longer for the cheetah to fuel back up. That being said, this animal is crazy fast and should be highly respected in the world of speed.