For thousands of years, humans have utilized the brute strength of African and Asian elephants for everything from war to transportation. An elephant's trunk alone contains around 100,000 muscles and can lift up to 600 pounds (270 kilograms).
Compared to an elephant, the rhinoceros beetle looks minuscule. But ounce for ounce, this insect is considered the world's strongest creature Rhinoceros beetles, which get their name from the hornlike structure on a male's head, are capable of carrying up to 850 times their own body weight. A human with this relative strength would be able to lift some 65 tons (59 metric tons).
The froghopper, or spittle bug, leaps into the record books as the insect world's greatest jumper. This tiny insect reaches a mere 0.2 inches (6 millimeters) in length but can catapult itself up to 28 inches (70 centimeters) into the air. A human with this ability would be able to clear a 690-foot-tall (210-meter-tall) skyscraper.
The impala, an African antelope with long, slender legs and muscular thighs, also gets high marks for its leaping abilities. When frightened, an impala will spring into action, bounding up to 33 feet (10 meters) and soaring some 10 feet (3 meters) in the air. This skill is apparently more than just defensive. Impalas have been observed jumping around just to amuse themselves.
In 2007, a bar-tailed godwit made the longest nonstop bird migration ever recorded. In nine days, it flew 7,145 miles (11,500 kilometers) from its breeding ground in Alaska to New Zealand without stopping for food or drink. By the end of the epic journey, the bird had lost more than 50 percent of its body weight.
The annual journey of the sooty shearwater bird rivals that of the bar-tailed godwit. These marathon migrators traverse nearly 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers) each year, from New Zealand to the Northern Hemisphere, in search of food.
Great White Shark
In 2005, a great white shark entered the record books by completing the longest shark migration ever recorded. Named Nicole by researchers, the shark made a 12,400-mile (20,000-kilometer) marathon circuit from Africa to Australia. The journey, which lasted nine months, also included the fastest return migration of any known marine animal.
Tracking systems showed that Nicole spent a lot of the time near the surface, leading some scientists to believe that sharks use celestial cues to navigate.
Officially the world's fastest fish, sailfish can reach speeds of 68 miles an hour (109 kilometers an hour) in short bursts. They often hunt in groups and use their quickness and impressive dorsal fins to herd schools of sardines or anchovies.
The cheetah, holder of the animal kingdom's land speed record, can run at more than 60 miles an hour (96 kilometers an hour) and can reach its top speed in just three seconds. These champion sprinters rely on long, muscular legs to propel their lithe bodies. But cheetahs expend a tremendous amount of energy during a chase and can only run all out for about 900 feet (274 meters).
Scientists have long debated the speed and agility of this prehistoric giant. While some propose that T rex. was capable of nothing more than a leisurely jog, other investigations have shown that the six-ton (5.4-metric-ton) predator could possibly have outrun an Olympic sprinter, reaching a top speed of 18 miles an hour (29 kilometers an hour).
The peregrine falcon holds the title of the animal kingdom's fastest flier. Using a dive-bomb hunting technique called a stoop, this raptor attacks prey—usually a pigeon or dove—at speeds of up to 200 miles an hour (322 kilometers an hour). It seizes its victim in midair with its sharp talons, then takes it to the ground to eat.