If you’ve been watching the highly anticipated, Shark Week, from the Discovery Channel, then you were probably disappointed when U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps raced a Great White Shark and lost. No, maybe you weren’t disappointed by the fact Phelps lost, but the fact that he wasn’t even racing a real shark, it was a hologram! Okay, okay, obviously the logistics of Phelps being able to race a real Great White are probably impossible, but we still can’t feel a little peeved.
To make up for this unfortunately fake ‘race,’ we composed a list of real animals you can actually see and ‘race’ for yourself. We admit some of these may be a little bit more practical than others, but if rugby player Bryan Habana can race a cheetah and this American football player, Dennis Northcut, can race an ostrich, well, maybe you can too.
Most humans on average can nearly 28 mph or approximately 45 km/h, do you think you can run faster when put up to the challenge? Let’s face today’s competitors:
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
We thought we’d start this list off slow to get you warmed up for the master challenge at the end. Your first opponent is the sloth. Native to Latin America, you’ll meet your adversary at Costa Rica’s sloth sanctuary. Here you’ll have an opportunity to get warmed up ‘racing’ not one but several of these fun little guys in their safe homes.
Fast and Fierce
Your next competition is, unfortunately, is not as friendly looking as our friend the sloth. Your challenger is Michael Phelps’ new foe, the Great White Shark. Clocked at speeds on average of 25 mph in the water, you can’t necessarily run against a Great White, but you could swim with one in South Africa. Maybe once you see one of these sharks in action you’ll understand why Phelps wasn’t all to keen on getting in the water against a real one.
No Monkey Business
On Ko Phi Phi Don, an island just off of Thailand, a plethora of friendly banana eating buddies are waiting on the beach to face off against you. Dubbed ‘Monkey Island,’ this beach is full of a variety of monkeys eager to play and get close to you. But be warned some monkeys, such as Pata Monkeys, have been known to reach speeds up to 34 mph, so you’ve got some fast competition to face if you can get them to race you that is.
Not a Lazy llama
Back in South America, your next opponent can be found near some of the civilizations’ most ancient ruins in Peru – the llama. Though the typical image of a llama is one who’s a lazy lump that chews cud, these lumps will spit in your face as they race by you at speeds up to 35 mph. So good luck in your race, we’ve heard the first one who reaches Machu Pichu wins.
Pretty in Pink
Known world wide for their famous bright colours, your next race will take place near the bottom of South American in Chile. Boasting a large population, Chilean flamingos don’t actually run but fly. These bad birds are said to reach up to approximately 40 mph, and will likely breeze by you. When you head to your next race, try not to be intimated by the number of cheerleaders your challenger has, flamingos are known to travel in groups.
Hippity, hop, hop your next challenge is on its way in Uluru or Ayers Rock, Australia. We know you’ve been wanting to get to the land of Oz on way or another and now your chance to do so and face one of your toughest challenges yet, racing a kangaroo. Though the little joeys can seem quite cute when their adults some red kangaroos have been timed to reach speeds of up to 40 mph or 70 km/h. These powerful marsupials are likely to leave you hopping in the wake of their dust when they’re done.
No ‘Cheatahs’ Here
Finally, it’s time to face the ultimate challenge yet, racing against the fastest animal on land – the cheetah. Known to reach up to speeds of 60 mph the Cheetahs have an amazing ability to go from 0 to 60 mph in about three seconds. Unfortunately, these magnificent animals are close to extinction. If you want to see and ‘race’ one in the wild, your best is to go on a safari, but don’t be disappointed if you don’t see one, these poor guys are harder to find these days.