How Fast are Alligators On Land? The Answer is Surprising

People often think of big cats like the cheetah or the lion when it comes to speed. It’s no surprise considering the cheetah is the fastest land animal. But did you know that reptiles like the alligator are no slouch in this department?

Reptiles will never overtake most mammals when it comes to a race. We’ve all learned that fact from the tales like “The Tortoise and the Hare.” But they can hold their own, especially against the average human. The perentie can run at 25 mph while the Komodo dragon’s top speed is 13 mph. That’s the same as the average human. Large reptiles like the alligator can also have an impressive burst of speed.

Are Alligators Fast on Land?

They actually are. It might come as a surprise but the alligator is quite limber and fast. How fast are alligators on land?

Experts say the American alligator’s top running speed clocks in at 11mph. There are extenuating factors that can affect how fast an alligator runs though. The terrain and the temperature are two factors.

Gators can run faster on flat land. But they will struggle if they have to climb an incline or go through a rocky landscape. The weather can also affect the alligator’s movement. It’s a reptile so it’s cold-blooded. It will move slower on a cold day.

Their body also isn’t designed to run long distances on land. Alligators have short, stubby limbs. Their torso is so low it’s almost touching the ground. Gravity alone will make it challenging to run. But gators are also heavy. The adult male alligator weighs 1,000 pounds or 454 kilograms on average. Most are 11.2 feet or 3.4 meters long. Female alligators are smaller at 8.2 feet or 2.6 meters. Their long and heavy tail is also a hindrance on land.

How to Outrun an Alligator

The alligator’s running speed is a little slower than the average human, but they’re known to sprint as fast as 35 mph. Imagine seeing this large, dinosaurian creature running towards you at that speed. It’s enough to give you a nightmare. The good news is you can outrun an alligator.

An alligator can only speed up a hundred feet or so. It gets tired quickly. So you’ll be fine as long as you have the stamina to keep running and put distance between the two of you. What about the suggestion that you should run in a zigzag pattern? It doesn’t make any difference what running pattern you take. You only need to run fast for several minutes to tire an alligator out.

It’s best if you don’t put yourself in a situation where an alligator will come after you. Make sure you put a good distance between yourself and this reptile at all times. Alligators fear humans. Their default reaction to seeing one is to retreat. It doesn’t mean they won’t chase you, especially if they’re defending their nest or hatchlings. Female alligators are fierce protectors.

You also shouldn’t become complacent around alligators. They might appear sluggish but they can move fast. One snap and you might get caught in those powerful jaws. Alligators also have teeth to spare. The mature ones have about 80 conical-shaped and razor-sharp teeth. These can do a lot of damage in a short time.

Make the Most Out of Your Vacation

Florida is more than a theme park. You should also experience its natural parks. Swamp Fever Airboat Adventures can show you another side of the Sunshine State. We are the premier airboat company in Orlando. We offer airboat tours around Panasoffkee and the Everglades. We can also show you the Withlacoochee water systems. You’ll have fun while staying safe under the watchful eye of Captain Ron. Give us a ring at 352-643-0708. We’ll be happy to answer your questions. You can also go online and book a tour here.