Discover the 10 Fastest Animals in Alabama

Written by Hannah Ward
Published: March 14, 2023
© Gustavo Frazao/
Share this post on:

Located in the southeastern region of the US, Alabama contains a wide variety of habitats — such as rivers, mountains, swamps, forests, and miles of coastline. Therefore, it’s not surprising that it is home to many stunning animals, both large and small. However, have you ever wondered just which is the fastest animal in the state? Well, the truth is, you might actually be surprised! So, let’s take a look at the fastest animals in Alabama.

10. American Alligator

The American alligator can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and reach up to 20 mph in the water and 30 mph on land.


The first animal on our list is the American alligator which can be found in the southern half of the state. The largest alligators can reach as much as 20 feet long and weigh up to 2,000 pounds. They are quick, agile hunters and can reach around 20 mph while in the water. However, they can also manage to achieve up to 30 mph on land in short bursts.

Alligators live in wetland habitats such as swamps, marshes, streams, lakes, and rivers. They are known as a keystone species as they modify their habitat by creating smaller holes which are called “alligator holes”. These holes are able to help other species during drier seasons as they retain water.

9. Bobcat

Bobcat on log
Bobcats can range from the size of a large housecat to a bit larger and can reach speeds up to 30 mph.

©Don Mammoser/

Next up is the bobcat which is a medium-sized wild cat that is distinguished by its small “bobbed” tail. Bobcats are usually tan or grayish brown with various black streaks and markings on their body, legs, and tail. They also usually have black tips on their ears which end in black tufts.

Bobcats are fairly common throughout Alabama but are more often found in the Piedmont and coastal plain region. They are skilled hunters and tend to stalk their prey before ambushing them with a quick burst of speed that can be as high as 30 mph. Despite their relatively small size, bobcats are able to take down larger prey such as deer when the opportunity arises.

8. Black Bear

Black Bear on road Mt Rainier, Washington
Black bears can weigh up to 500 pounds and still reach speeds up to 30 mph.

© Lee

One of the fastest animals in Alabama and one you would certainly never want to attempt to outrun is the black bear. Black bears also reach 30 mph, albeit only over a short distance. They are highly territorial and can be extremely defensive when they are disturbed. Although they are the smallest bears on the continent they, still weigh as much as 500 pounds.

Black bears are omnivores and eat a wide range of vegetation. However, they also eat insects and regularly prey upon white-tailed and mule deer fawns. Black bears are distributed right across Alabama and prefer to live in woodland regions where there is plenty of food for them.

7. White-Tailed Deer

Spiking Antlers on White-tailed Deer
White-tailed deer are one of the fastest animals in Alabama because they can reach speeds up to 30 mph.

© Wightman

One of the most easily recognizable animals as well as one of the fastest animals in Alabama is the white-tailed deer. White-tailed deer are known for their distinctive tail which has a white underside. This is particularly easy to see when the deer is alarmed as it raises it as it runs off.

White-tailed deer also have reddish-brown coats during the summer months and a greyish-brown coat during the winter. Their size varies depending on their location, but most can achieve a speed of up to 30 mph. White-tailed deer are common right across the state and can live in grasslands, woodlands, pastures, and cropland.

6. Orca

Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) breaching.
Orcas live in the surrounding waters of Alabama and can reach speeds up to 35 mph.

©Tory Kallman/

Although there are several species of whales and dolphins that can be found in the waters surrounding Alabama, the fastest is the magnificent orca which is easily distinguished by its black and white appearance. Orcas, also known as killer whales, are actually the largest members of the dolphin family. They are widely distributed around the world in both tropical and polar waters.

They live and hunt in large pods and can reach around 35 miles per hour. Orcas are apex predators — having no natural predators of their own — and prey upon a wide range of animals. Their diet includes a variety of fish, seals, sea turtles, sea birds, and even other whales and dolphins.

5. Gray Fox

Mysterious Gray Animals - Gray Fox
Gray foxes are one of the few foxes that can climb trees and can reach speeds up to 42 mph.


Although omnivorous, gray foxes regularly prey on animals such as birds, shrews, rabbits, and rodents. They are solitary hunters and can attain speeds of up to 42 mph. Gray foxes typically weigh eight to 15 pounds and are distinguished by their grey coat with their reddish brown tinges around the chest, neck, ears, and legs.

They mainly live in the southern half of North America and the northern half of South America and prefer rocky woodland regions. Gray foxes are also uniquely adapted to climbing trees and use their long, hooked claws to grip the trunks. They are also able to jump from branch to branch.

4. Coyote

coyote in sunlight
Coyotes are one of the fastest animals in Alabama, but they hold the title of the fastest land mammal in the state as well.

©Mircea Costina/

The fastest land mammal in Alabama is the coyote which can reach 43 mph. Coyotes typically have a grey-brown appearance with a bushy tail and are closely related to wolves. They are widespread across North America and occur right across Alabama.

Coyotes are highly adaptable animals and can live in a wide variety of habitats — including forests, mountains, grasslands, and even urban areas. They also have a varied diet and prey on birds and small mammals as well as larger animals such as deer and elk.

3. Wahoo

The wahoo, one of the world's fastest fish, has a diet is made up of other fish and squid, which they easily catch thanks to their speed.
Wahoos can be found in the Gulf shore of Alabama and can reach up to 60 mph.


Wahoo are large, streamlined fish that can reach as long as 8ft 2in. They have blueish backs and silver sides with vertical blue markings. They are some of the fastest fish in the sea and can achieve speeds of up to 60 mph, making them highly prized as game fish.

Wahoos are highly migratory and often live in water that is more than 150 feet deep. However, they are often found along the Gulf shore and in the Orange Beach area of Alabama.

2. Bald Eagle

Bald eagles are typically found near bodies of water and can reach speeds up to 99.5 mph.

© Bock

The bald eagle is an iconic American symbol and can be distinguished by its stunning dark brown plumage and white head. Bald eagles have a wingspan of up to eight feet and can achieve an incredible 99.5mph. They are sea eagles and opportunistic feeders which swoop down and scoop fish directly from the water with their talons.

Bald eagles mainly occur near large bodies of water and nest in old-growth trees nearby. They build the largest nests of any bird in the world, with the largest being around 10 feet wide and 20 feet deep.

1. Mexican Free-Tailed Bat

Mexican Free-tailed Bat
The fastest animal in Alabama is the Mexican free-tailed bat that can reach speeds up to 100 mph.

©Bureau of Land Management / CC BY 2.0 / flickr – License

The fastest animal in Alabama is the Mexican free-tailed bat which can reach the astonishing speed of 100 miles per hour. These tiny bats are only 3.5 inches long but their tail makes up around half of their length. They are dark brown to gray and have large, round ears. Their wings are elongated and have narrow tips which help them to be streamlined and incredibly suited to flying at fast speeds.

Mexican free-tailed bats roost in large colonies, with caves being their preferred roosting spot. However, they are also known to roost in buildings with dark recesses. They prey on a wide range of insects and can eat up to two-thirds of their body weight in a single night.

Up Next:

More from A-Z Animals

The Featured Image

© Gustavo Frazao/

Share this post on:
About the Author

I have been writing professionally for several years with a focus on animals and wildlife. I love spending time in the outdoors and when not writing I can be found on the farm surrounded by horses, dogs, sheep, and pigs.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.