Some animals are really amazing athletes, giving performances that can make you leap up and roar! Check it out!
The high-jump champion of the animal world may be the spittle bug. This insect is only as long as a pencil eraser. But it can jump 115 times higher than its body length. That would be like a person leaping over a 70-story skyscraper. But top Olympic high-jumpers can just barely clear their own height—jumping to nearly 8 feet (2.4 m).
Male bighorn sheep—called rams—would be great football players. During the fall, when looking for mates, they challenge other rams. How? By charging at each other with lowered horns. As their horns crash together at speeds of up to 50 miles (80 km) an hour, the loud crashes can be heard for more than a mile away. Sometimes these butting battles go on for 20 hours.
MORE MARVELOUS MIGRATORS
Chinook salmon may travel more than 2,000 miles (3,200 km) as they swim inland from the sea and head up the rivers and streams where they hatched. That’s about the distance between Detroit, Michigan, and Los Angeles, California. Imagine swimming all that way!
What animal takes the prize among best leapers? Most scientists agree: It’s the tiny southern cricket frog—a tree frog living on the ground in many southeastern states. It’s only about an inch (2.5 cm) long but can jump 62 times its body length. As you may have guessed, it’s got mighty long legs.
A sperm whale can dive deeper in the ocean than any other animal—heading down to at least a mile (1.6 km) or more. Their breathing and blood-circulation systems are made for this. For example, they have much more oxygen in their muscles than we do. And they can send more oxygen through their blood to their brains and hearts. So sperm whales can go way down and stay down for up to an hour or two without coming up for air.
SPEEDY SEA CREATURES
Fish aren’t the only awesome swimmers in the seas. The killer whale or orca can swim up to 30 or 40 miles (48-64 km) an hour. But it usually cruises at much slower speeds, between 2 to 6 miles (3-10 km) an hour.
A gentoo penguin can’t fly in the air, but it can "fly" through the water: It has a perfect shape for swimming and wings that work like paddles. It can reach a speed of 15 miles (24 km) an hour, three times faster than humans.
The peregrine falcon takes the prize for speed in the air. When it dives down to snatch a tasty pigeon or starling in flight it may reach speeds of more than 150 miles (240 km) an hour. The falcon’s bullet-shaped body helps it perform this amazing feat.