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How Fast Can An Ostrich Run?

The African ostrich (Struthio camelus), often known as the common ostrich, is a massive bird that may reach heights of 9 feet and weigh up to 350 pounds. Being this large and majestic, though, comes at a cost, you won’t see one of these gigantic birds flying over the African plains.

Ostriches, as you may have guessed, lack the ability to fly. Fortunately, Mother Nature endowed them with exceptional running abilities. So, just how fast can an ostrich run? What characteristics make this bird such a fast runner? Above everything else, is it a champ in its field?

How does it compare to other fast-moving species on the planet? The responses, as well as some more, may be discovered below, so what are you waiting for? Let’s get started.

How Fast Can An Ostrich Run?

Ostriches, despite their unable to fly, are extremely quick and powerful runners. They can run up to 43 miles an hour, as per National Geographic (mph). During their furious sprint, their wings act as “rudders,” allowing them to abruptly shift direction.

Even better, their large and muscular legs allow them to take 16-foot steps. Furthermore, the ostrich has incredible stamina and can sustain a pace of 31 mph for nearly half an hour before breaking into a light trot at 19 mph for an hour.

Enough already to drive lions and hyenas flee. But could the ostrich contend with the world’s other fastest biped, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt?

Absolutely! In fact, the huge ratite defeats it hands down: the famed athlete reached a high speed of 27.33 mph, which is far slower than the enormous bird. Thankfully for him, ostriches are not permitted in sporting events.

group of Ostrich

How Do Ostriches Run So Fast?

Ostriches have several physical traits that help them maintain their incredible speed and stamina:

• Legs that are huge, bouncy, and have massive, well-developed muscles. The most muscular region of the ostrich’s leg is around the top of the leg. As a result, the lower leg is light and simple to swing, allowing for a faster speed as well as a lengthier stride length.

• Wings that have atrophied Their enormous wings, which are worthless for flying, are ideal for maintaining and maintaining the large bird throughout a frenzied race.

• Ligaments support the joints of ostriches. This significantly enhances their endurance because they are not wasting valuable energy using their strong muscles to steady themselves throughout the run. Their ligaments are flexible enough to handle this.

• Footwear with two toes. Ostriches, unlike other birds, have only two toes, with soft soles to absorb the stress of their tremendous strides.

The bigger toe serves as a spring suspension system, while the second serves as a stabilizing toe. All of these anatomical characteristics combine to make ostriches superb racing machines.

Why Do Ostriches Run Fast?

Ostriches developed to adapt to living on land, eventually losing the use of their wings. We’re talking about an adaptability that happened over millions of years. As a result, unlike birds that can fly vast distances to gather food, ostriches must rely completely on their legs.

Running rapidly and covering big distances without tiring are thus traits that help ostriches to live on the vast African plains. Ostriches’ exceptional sprinting abilities enable them to outrun predators. Nevertheless, aside from people, ostriches wouldn’t have many natural adversaries.

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Lions, hyenas, and cheetahs will sometimes assault an adult ostrich, but because one powerful kick from this enormous bird is enough to kill a lion, these predators tend to focus on immature birds.

How Far Can An Ostrich Run?

There is no data on the longest distance an ostrich can run, but given that it can sustain a pace of 31 miles per hour with velocity peaks of 43 miles per hour, we may estimate that it goes at least 40 miles per hour non-stop.

However, considering that an ostrich’s high stamina allows it to outpace its predators, it is improbable that an ostrich would also have to sprint for an hour without resting except, of course, it had to cross a dry desert area fast to locate food.

Can An Ostrich Outrun A Cheetah?

The cheetah is noted for its speed: it can reach speeds of up to 70 mph and travels at up to 26 feet each stride and four steps per second. It’s a fantastic sprinter, capable of reaching 45 mph in under two seconds and 55 mph in under a second.

It averages 60 mph over 500 metres but does not reach 31 mph over greater distances. Thus, a cheetah may easily dominate an ostrich over a small distances, but the danger of it attacking such a bird is low. This sensitive kitty is fully aware of the ostrich’s lethal kicks.

Can An Ostrich Outrun A Lion?

Despite its image as the stately but sluggish king of creatures, the lion has a peak speed of 50 mph. So, a lion can potentially outpace an ostrich, but only for a limited distance since it lacks the huge bird’s endurance.

A lion, on the other hand, is unlikely to assault an adult ostrich for almost the same reason stated above: ostrich legs are deadly weapons capable of utterly destroying a lion’s belly because to the large back claw of their foot.

Can A Human Outrun An Ostrich?

Humans have an outstanding endurance capability when compared to other terrestrial animals, yet they cannot attain a high peak speed. Usain Bolt broke the 100-meter world record in 9.58 seconds, with a peak speed of 27.33 mph.

To date, this is the fastest a humans have indeed been able to go. Have a look at the latest facts to see where the ostrich stands among the world’s fastest animals:

• With a peak speed of 242 mph, the Peregrine Falcon is the fastest Bird.

• The Horse Fly is the fastest insect, reaching speeds of up to 90 miles per hour.

• The fastest fish is the black marlin, which can reach speeds of up to 80 miles per hour.

• With a peak speed of 75 mph, the cheetah is the fastest Land Animal.

• With a peak speed of 50 mph, the Lion is the second fastest wild cat.

• With a peak speed of 43 mph, the ostrich is the fastest Biped Land Animal.

• Usain Bolt holds the record for the fastest human, reaching a peak speed of 27.33 mph.

Take Away Message

The ostrich substitutes for its reluctance to fly by possessing exceptional sprinting abilities, attaining a peak speed of 43 mph. But that pales in comparison to the speeds attained by the world’s fastest animals. The peregrine falcon is the uncontested king of the sky, attaining speeds of up to 242 mph.

On land, the cheetah has unrivalled speed: it can even outpace a car on a highway. What about the average person in all of this? Including an average speed of 8 mph, you’d best hope you don’t wind yourself in the hands of a hungry cheetah or lion.


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