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20 Examples of Agile Animals (Pictures)

Agility is a prized trait in the animal kingdom, allowing creatures to move quickly and efficiently in response to different stimuli in their environments. These agile animals, whether predators or prey, have developed remarkable balance and coordination, allowing them to move through difficult situations.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of these animals and learn about the amazing adaptations that help them move so quickly and gracefully.

20 Agile animals

1. Ostrich

Male common ostrich standing
Male common ostrich standing | image by Bernard DUPONT via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Struthio camelus

The ostrich is a large bird native to Africa that’s unable to fly and lives on open plains and grasslands there. As a result of its strong legs and large wings, this large bird can sprint at speeds of up to 43 miles per hour and change directions in an instant. They use this ability to get away from swift predators in the wild such as lions, hyenas, and wild dogs.

2. Blue wildebeest

Blue wildebeest foraging
Blue wildebeest | image by Bernard DUPONT via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Connochaetes taurinus

The blue wildebeest is a big antelope that lives in the grassy plains and open woodlands of eastern and southern Africa. These wildebeest are very social animals that live in groups of up to a thousand individuals. Although wildebeests can grow to be as tall as 4.75 feet, they’re surprisingly fast and agile and can run at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour to help them escape their predators.

3. Sailfish

Atlantic sailfish
Atlantic sailfish | image by Rich Gasparian via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific Name: Istiophorus albicans

It’s common to find sailfish in the waters of Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, as well as off the coast of Tahiti and Hawaii. Sailfish prefer to inhabit waters that are either tropical or subtropical waters and are located close to landmasses.

These creatures are also known as the world’s fastest fish, as they can reach speeds of up to 110 km per hour. They can move quickly and precisely in the water, making them excellent hunters.

4. Impala

Image: Ru1Schoeman | pixabay.com
  • Scientific Name: Aepyceros melampus

The Impala is a species of antelope that can be found across the savannas and open woodlands of southern and eastern Africa. It’s well-known for its agility, speed, and ability to jump high and far, going as far as three meters into the air.

They’re most likely to be spotted during the day, preferably in the early morning or just before sunset, and they’re experts at confusing their predators by leaping in any direction.

5. Cheetah

Cheetah face with black tear markings
Cheetah face with black tear markings
  • Scientific Name: Acinonyx jubatus

When it comes to quickness and agility, the cheetah is one of the most well-known animals. Its speed, grace, and unique look have made it a popular animal all over the world. Cheetahs are found in Africa, where their natural habitats include grasslands, savannahs, and shrublands.

Cheetahs can reach speeds of up to 130 km per hour, and they can even hunt antelopes in the wild. Because of this ability, these creatures face very few natural enemies in the wild.

6. Thomson’s gazelle

Thomson’s gazelle
Thomson’s gazelle | image by Dominic Sherony via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Eudorcas thomsonii

Although it‘s a relatively small species of antelope, the Thomson’s gazelle has an exceptional level of agility and can run at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. As a result, they can outrun cheetahs and even use their ability to zigzag or change directions very quickly to get away from them.

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These creatures are quite common in East Africa, where they’re also known as a “tommie,” a name that was given to them in honor of the explorer Joseph Thomson.

7. Pronghorn

Pronghorn in grass field
Pronghorn in grassland
  • Scientific Name: Antilocapra americana

The pronghorn is a species of mammal that’s native to North America. They’re sometimes referred to as American antelope due to the fact that they’re similar in appearance to the antelopes of the Old World.

These animals are capable of reaching speeds of up to 98 kilometers per hour, making them the fastest land mammals in the Western Hemisphere. The bodies of these animals are shaped similarly to those of deer, and they have a reddish-brown color with white stripes on their necks and white markings on their faces.

8. Brown hare

Rabbit brown hare
Rabbit brown hare ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay
  • Scientific Name: Lepus europaeus

The brown hare is Britain’s fastest land mammal due to its incredible speed and agility. Hares are commonly confused with rabbits, despite the fact that hares are larger in size, have longer ears, and longer hind legs.

While running away from danger, brown hares can reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. You can find these animals in open farmland and grassland habitats, where they can be found munching on the bark of young trees and bushes.

9. Frigatebird

Magnificent frigatebird
Magnificent frigatebird | image by Hans Norelius via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Fregata magnificens

A frigatebird is a species of black seabird that lives along long coastlines and islands in tropical and subtropical waters. They’re large in size and can be recognized by the long, pointed wings and forked tails that give them the appearance of pterodactyls when they’re flying through the air.

These large birds are also well-known for their incredible speed and agility, particularly when it comes to stealing the catch of other birds such as gulls, ospreys, and boobies.

10. Mexican free-tailed bat

Mexican free-tailed bat
Mexican free-tailed bat| image by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Tadarida brasiliensis

The Mexican free-tailed bat is known to be one of the fastest mammals in the world. Typically, you can find this medium-sized species of bat roosting in caves close to bodies of water, but you might also come across them in mines, bridges, or tunnels.

They use echolocation to find their prey and are one of the most common types of mammals in North America. These bats are agile and fast enough to swoop down on unsuspecting insects in midair when they hunt.

11. Golden eagle

Golden eagle
Golden eagle
  • Scientific Name: Aquila chrysaetos

With wingspans that can reach up to 7.5 feet, the golden eagle is one of the largest raptors that you can find in the world. These birds are well-known for their agility, speed, and quickness, all of which they use to capture a wide range of prey, including rabbits, birds, rodents, and hares.

Their natural habitats include open fields, hills, cliffs, and bluffs, and you can spot them in North America and parts of Asia, northern Africa, and Europe.

12. Springbok

The springboks
The springboks
  • Scientific Name: Antidorcas marsupialis

The springbok is a magnificent species of antelope that’s native to the open plains and arid climates of southern Africa. Springboks are agile, quick animals that are also capable of pronking, or jumping to great heights.

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They rely on this skill to help them get away from dangerous situations and predators. These animals accomplish this by jumping as high as two meters into the air with their heads facing downward, legs straightened, and backs bowed.

13. Anna’s hummingbird

Anna's hummingbird
Anna’s hummingbird
  • Scientific Name: Calypte anna

Anna’s hummingbirds are one of the most well-known hummingbird species in the United States, and they can be found along North America’s western coast. Only about 4 inches in length, these tiny birds have long, pointed beaks used for feeding on nectars.

They’re also recognized for their agile flight, as these birds are able to hover in place or fly in any direction, including forward, backward, upwards, and sideways. This is made possible by the ability of each of their wings to rotate in a full circle.

14. Clouded Leopard

Clouded leopard
Clouded leopard
  • Scientific Name: Neofelis nebulosa

The clouded leopard is a carnivorous animal that you can find in the lowland tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia. It has a thick, brown, or yellowish-gray coat with irregular spots on its body.

These leopards are able to climb trees and pounce on their prey with great agility, thanks to their rotating ankles. They’re also incredibly swift, with the ability to travel at speeds of up to 60 kilometers per hour when necessary.

15. Lynx

Lynx hiding on a log
Lynx hiding on a log | image by Mathias Appel via Flickr
  • Scientific Name: Lynx

The lynx is a medium-sized wild cat found in Eurasia and North America. It has distinctive tufted ears and a short, bobbed tail. The lynx’s coat varies in color from reddish-brown to grayish-brown, with black spots on its legs and belly. They are also excellent climbers and swimmers. Lynx are solitary animals and primarily hunt at night, feeding on small mammals such as rabbits and rodents. 

16. Dolphins

Alantic white sided dolphin breaching
Atlantic white-sided dolphin breaching | image by Anna via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Scientific Name: Lagenorhynchus acutus

Dolphins are highly intelligent and social marine mammals found in oceans and rivers around the world. They have a streamlined body with a dorsal fin on their back and two pectoral fins on their sides, which they use for steering and maneuvering. Dolphins are known for their agility and acrobatic abilities, frequently leaping out of the water and performing flips and spins.

They are also incredibly fast swimmers, with some species able to reach speeds of up to 18 mph. Dolphins are highly social animals that live in groups called pods and communicate with each other using a complex system of clicks and whistles. They primarily feed on fish and squid and are known to use unique hunting techniques such as herding fish into tight groups using bubbles. 

17. Monkeys

Geoffroy’s spider monkey
Geoffroy’s spider monkey | image by Bernard DUPONT via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Cercopithecidae

The Monkeys are a diverse group of primates found in a wide range of habitats, from rainforests to deserts. They have a number of physical adaptations that allow them to be agile animals, including a prehensile tail, opposable thumbs, and flexible limbs.

These adaptations allow them to move quickly and efficiently through trees and other obstacles, making them highly skilled climbers and jumpers. Monkeys are also known for their social behavior, living in groups called troops that can range in size from a few individuals to several hundred.

18. Flying squirrels

Southern Flying Squirrel
Southern Flying Squirrel | image by MimiMiaPhotography via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Scientific Name: Glaucomys volans

Flying squirrels are a group of rodents found in North America, Europe, and Asia. They are known for their ability to glide through the air using a membrane of skin called a patagium, which stretches from their wrists to their ankles.

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Flying squirrels are nocturnal and primarily arboreal, spending most of their time in trees. They are omnivores, feeding on a variety of foods including nuts, seeds, insects, and small animals. Flying squirrels have large, round eyes and a flattened tail that helps them steer while gliding.

They are considered agile animals due to their excellent climbing and gliding abilities. Their lightweight bodies and loose skin flaps allow them to glide for long distances and make quick turns in mid-air, making them well-adapted to life in the trees.

19. Hawks

Hawk bird flying
Hawk bird flying | Image by rfotostock from Pixabay
  • Scientific Name: Buteo

Hawks are a group of birds of prey found all over the world. They have a number of physical adaptations that make them agile animals, including sharp talons, powerful wings, and keen eyesight. Hawks are known for their ability to fly quickly and maneuver through the air with great precision.

They are skilled hunters, feeding on a variety of prey including small mammals, birds, and reptiles. Hawks are also known for their territorial behavior, with some species defending their nesting sites aggressively.

20. Fox

Fox on brown grass field
Fox on brown grass field
  • Scientific Name: Vulpes vulpes

Foxes are a diverse group of small to medium-sized carnivorous mammals that inhabit various regions of the world. They possess a range of physical adaptations that enable them to be agile animals, such as their slender bodies, sharp claws, and acute senses. Foxes are renowned for their remarkable ability to run swiftly and traverse through intricate environments with ease.

They are highly skilled hunters, preying on a variety of animals, including small mammals, birds, and insects. The agility of foxes is attributed to their slender physique, robust legs, and exceptional sensory capabilities, which allow them to adeptly navigate their surroundings and pursue prey with remarkable precision.

Louise Robles

About Louise Robles

Louise writes about a wide variety of topics including wildlife, animals, and nature. She's developed a growing interest in animal biology and categorization due to her fascination with how they interact with one another and with their surroundings.