When you think of animals that are the fastest and strongest, you probably think of big, impressive-looking animals, and in lots of cases, you’d be right. The cheetah is the fastest land mammal, clocking in at up to 70 miles per hour in short bursts, and the Asian elephant, the strongest land mammal, can lift more than 2,000 pounds with its trunk and can drag a load weighing over 20,000 pounds. However, many animal champions aren’t quite so obvious.

Leaf-cutter ants are tiny, so of course they can’t lift as much as an elephant can. But for their size, these little insects are much stronger than elephants—they use their jaws to  lift and carry 50 times their own weight. That would be like a 12,000 pound elephant being able to lift 600,000 pounds! Similarly, female house spiders have much shorter legs than a cheetah and can’t cover as much ground, but they can run 330 times their own body length in 10 seconds. For a cheetah to do that, it would have to run more than 115 miles per hour.

Lots of the animals you read about in Zoobooks might make you think about the different kinds of animal champions all around us! Can you think of any other animals who are unexpected champions?