Alligators can be a scary sight if you’re camping or on a walk near their territory. They are so well camouflaged that sometimes you don’t even notice they are there before you are closer than you want to be!
Since we have alligators here in Arkansas, I began to wonder, how fast can alligators run?
I mean, if I’m camping in Arkansas and see an alligator, I want to know how fast I need to run to out run it!
So, I began investigating. Alligators are faster than I expected but there is a bit of a surprise.
How Fast Can Alligators Run?
Alligators don’t prefer to run on land. They are faster moving in the water but, sometimes, a quick run on land is what they need to catch their prey or run off an intruder.
Surprisingly, alligators can run at speeds up to 30 miles an hour. However, there is a catch. They can only run at that speed for a short distance.
This means that you shouldn’t get close to them. They can make quick, sudden movements so it’s best to stay over 10 feet from them. At the least!
Keep in mind that an alligator’s “run” is more of a lunge but that doesn’t mean that you should chance it by getting close.
Thirty miles an hour is a mighty swift lunge but what happens after that?
How fast can an alligator run over a long distance?
If an alligator is going to run a longer distance, it can’t run for 30 miles an hour the entire time.
Over longer distances, alligators can sustain a speed between 9 and 11 miles an hour. With that being said, it’s important to note that alligators don’t really like to run. They rarely run for more than 100 feet. They prefer to be lazy and catch prey in the easiest way possible.
The easiest way to catch prey is to lay still in the water until something swims by that they want.
Speaking of swimming…
Can Alligators Swim Faster Than Humans?
For curiosity’s sake, can alligators swim faster than humans? I don’t plan on swimming where there might be an alligator but it’s still a good question!
Alligator’s can swim at a speed of 20 miles an hour. You’ll notice that they are a bit faster on land but that doesn’t mean that they are slow swimmers!
They are much faster than humans!
A swimmer with average skills can swim approximately 2 miles per hour. This is roughly equivalent to taking 56 seconds to swim the 50-meter length of an Olympic-sized pool.source
So, alligators can swim faster than humans!
Alligators Can Run Fast…For a Little While
So, what we have learned is that alligators can run a very short distance (basically just the length of their body). An alligator’s “fast run” is more like a swift lunge at 30 miles an hour.
Over a longer distance, alligators can run about 9-11 miles an hour. For reference, the average man jogs at a speed of 8 miles an hour.
However, when alligators are in the water, they are much faster. Alligators can swim at a speed of 20 miles an hour and the average person only swims at the speed of 2 miles an hour!
Long story short: just stay away from alligators.
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