Wolves often prey on speedy ungulates such as deer, elk, and moose. This means they have to be fast to be able to keep up with and attack their prey. But just how fast, exactly? How fast can a wolf run, and how long can they maintain these top speeds? Keep reading! In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions and more!
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How Fast is a Wolf?
According to the International Wolf Center, wolves can travel 36 to 38 miles per hour for short bursts; they typically run this fast when hunting speedy prey like antelopes or deer. A wolf’s top speed is considered to be around 40 miles per hour.
Again, though, they can only maintain these high speeds for relatively short distances. Wolves are built for running, but they do best keeping a slower pace over long distances.
For a great visual of just how fast wolves are able to run, check out the following video of a pair of wolves “racing” a car.
What is the Fastest Wolf in the World?
There are two main species of wolf in the world: the gray wolf and the red wolf. Each of these wolf species has many subspecies.
Of the two main species, gray wolves are faster than red wolves. Gray wolves are the ones that can reach top speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.
Gray wolf subspecies include the Arctic wolf, the Great Plains wolf, and the Mexican wolf. The eastern timber wolf is sometimes considered a third distinct species but is usually considered a gray wolf subspecies.
All of these subspecies are able to run 35 to 40 miles per hour for short bursts and maintain slower speeds for hours on end.
How Far Can Wolves Run Without Stopping?
So, we’ve established that wolves can sprint for short bursts and run at a slower pace for much longer periods. But just how far can they travel without having to stop for rest?
Or, perhaps more specifically, how long can they maintain their running speed without stopping?
The answer, of course, depends on how fast they are going in the first place.
If a wolf is sprinting at top speeds of 35 to 40 miles per hour, it will have to stop for a rest, or at least slow down, after a few minutes.
Of course, even when hunting prey, wolves don’t always reach these top speeds, as they require a great amount of energy. Most often when hunting, wolves will run a bit slower, around 25 miles per hour–a speed they can maintain for up to 20 minutes at a time.
Wolves can run at much slower speeds for much longer periods of time. As noted above, they are built for running, so they can trot at slow speeds for hours on end, maintaining this pace all day long and rarely having to stop to rest.
How Far Can Wolves Run in a Day?
Wolves travel around quite a bit each day in search of food and new territory.
In a single day, a wolf may travel more than 50 miles. Of course, it probably won’t be running the entire time; most likely, the wolf will spend most of the day trotting, or loping, at around 5 to 6 miles per hour, punctuating this slow run with shorter bursts of greater speeds when hunting prey or escaping danger.
Wolves’ bodies are slender and athletic, and the angle of their elbows allows their weight to be perfectly positioned over their legs, which in turn gives them the ideal shape for hours of running. Their long legs allow them to cover vast amounts of ground while expending a minimal amount of energy.
Wolves know how to get around; young wolves especially may travel hundreds of miles away from their home in search of new territory or their own mate. Of course, they don’t travel this far in a single day, but their athletic build and ability to run enables them to travel these great distances over a period of days.
A gray wolf, traveling at top speed, can run up to 40 miles per hour. On average, most wolves can reach top speeds of 36 to 38 miles per hour when escaping danger or hunting prey.