Strange Trivia in Sports: Animal Athletes

Some strange trivia, facts, records, and abilities of animal athletes.


The cheetah is generally considered the fastest of land animals with sprint speeds of approximately 70 mph. The barracuda is the fastest of fish and can attain speeds of over 60 mph. The fastest animal on earth is the North American duck hawk which has been timed at 200 mph. This bird normally cruises at 65 mph. Two other birds, the merganser and the Tibetan swift, are also purported to have a top speed of 200 mph. The racing pigeon has the most stamina at high speeds. In 1932, a pigeon owned by L. F. Curtis, of Chestnut Hills, Mass., was timed at an average speed of 67 mph over a 600-mi. course.

The longest flight by a homing pigeon was recorded between April 8 and June 1, 1845. A pigeon owned by the 1st Duke of Wellington flew from the tip of the Ichabo Islands, West Africa, to Nine Elms, London, England; a distance of 5,400 mi. It is suspected that the pigeon actually flew 7,000 mi. because it would have circumvented the Sahara Desert. The bird fell dead one mi. from its loft.

A racing pigeon owned by E. S. Peterson flew 803 mi. in 24 hours to win a 1941 San Antonio Racing Club event.

The beaked chaetodon, a fish which inhabits the various rivers emptying into the East Indian and Polynesian seas, uses his long snout like a gun to shoot insects above the water. Tiny drops of water are the hunting fish's ammunition.

In Canton, China, a fighting cricket called Genghis Khan won fights with as much as $90,000 at stake.

Betta fish will fight each other to the death in battles lasting as long as 6 hours.

The record long-distance swim by a fish was recorded at the Taronga Park aquarium in Sydney, Australia, between the years 1934 and 1939, during which time a gray nurse shark, Skipper IV, swam continually, covering an estimated 105,000 mi. Actually Skipper IV never gave up, but the coming of W.W. II took away her audience.

A Chesapeake-Labrador dog named Curly traveled 650 mi. from Billings to Alexander, N.D., between December 1 and December 23, 1948. After arriving in Alexander, Curly slept for 72 hours, then decided to leave and went back to Billings.

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