How Fast Are Alligators?

How Fast Are Alligators? How Fast Can Alligators Swim?

I know what you’re thinking, alligators look slow and prehistoric but the truth is, alligators can get some speed if they want to! Alligators can run fast and an alligator’s swim speed is quite high!

Have you ever seen one of those nature shows where a deer walks up to the edge of the water to get a drink and out of nowhere, an alligator that you didn’t even see, bursts out of the water and pulls the deer under?

They always take me by surprise! An animal with such short legs and thick bodies just don’t seem like they should be able to move that fast.

Sneaky alligator in lake
Sneaky alligator. Photo by Vickie Gray

So, how fast are alligators? Today we will answer that question and a few more. If you’re wondering: how fast are alligators, how fast can alligators run, and how fast can alligators swim in the water, you’ve come to the right place.

How Fast Are Alligators? Running & Swimming

This question actually needs to be broken into two questions since alligators live their lives in water and on land.

In fact, alligators have different top speeds when they are in water and when they are on land.

How Fast Can Alligators Run?

It is important to note that alligators don’t prefer to run on land. They would much rather swim but, if they have to, they can.

Surprisingly, alligators can run at speeds up to 30-miles-an-hour but that’s for only a very short distance. Alligators are better at lunging than they are at running.

If you want to read all about it, we have full details here:
How Fast Can Alligators Run?

In that article, we’ll even compare an alligator to the speed of the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt.

How Fast Can Alligators Swim?

Alligators are very fast swimmers. In fact, alligators can swim at a speed of 20-miles-an-hour.

But, 20-miles-an-hour means nothing if you can’t compare it to something. So, let’s compare alligators to one of the fastest swimmers I can think of, Michael Phelps.

According to ESPN, Michael Phelps’ swimming speed capped off at about 6 miles per hour in 2010. If you’re thinking 6 miles per hour sounds less than impressive, imagine trying to swim across a 6-mile-wide body of water in just an hour.

Alligator swimming in Arkansas
Alligator swimming in Arkansas. Photo by Jeff Gray

So, How Fast Are Alligators?

We now know that alligators are pretty stinkin’ fast. They can lunge faster than Usain Bolt and they can swim faster than Michael Phelps.

What have we learned today? We have learned to stay out of their way!

Beware of Alligators sign
Beware of Alligators! Photo by Jeff Gray

Alligators will lunge out of the water and grab your dog if you are walking by and they have also been known to attack people.

Alligators are very fast and they should not be mistaken for old, slow dinosaurs.

Alligator fun fact: Alligators can climb trees!

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