Did you know that golden eagles can be found gliding through the skies of Nevada?
Golden eagles hold their powerful wings in a V formation, allowing them to soar at speeds of 28 to 32 mph. They can reach up to 120 mph when on the hunt and dive at an astonishing rate of up to 200 mph. Imagine being able to move that quickly!
Alongside the golden eagle is a host of other fast creatures in Nevada. Some you probably never even thought about as being quick. These incredible creatures have adapted to their environment by being able to outrun predators, escape danger, and survive in a challenging habitat.
Follow along as we look at some of the fastest animals in Nevada.
The pronghorn is the fastest land mammal in North America and can run up to 60 mph, making them one of the fastest animals in Nevada. They got their name from their horns — which point backward towards their rump and then “prong.”
These ungulates have specially adapted muscles designed for explosive bursts of energy that help power their impressive speed. On top of that, their body temperature runs relatively high at 100 degrees Fahrenheit!
These creatures are usually 4 to 5 feet long from nose to tail and stand about 3.5 feet tall at the shoulder. Males weigh a bit more than females, with males typically heading up to 145 pounds and females up to 85 pounds.
Pronghorns can run at speeds of up to 60 mph for distances when something’s chasing them. At a normal running pace, they’ll reach speeds of 40 mph due to their unique strides. These speedsters have different ways of walking that help them cover as much as 20 feet per step! To protect themselves against uneven ground or firm surfaces, pronghorns have pointed and padded double hooves.
Unfortunately, rising traffic levels could pose a threat to this species’ well-being. Studies show they might see roads as a risk, causing them to socialize less. The best solution will be traffic plans that take into account this animal’s need to roam.
Jackrabbits can reach up to 40 mph! They have incredibly long back legs with powerful muscles that allow them to make tremendous leaps. Their jumping skills help them to evade predators more quickly than other species.
Did you know that the white-tailed jackrabbit is not actually a rabbit but a hare? This species is the largest of all the hares in Nevada, and they have some pretty unique characteristics. They have long ears and legs, giving them a dusky gray color with a white tail, which turns completely white in winter!
You can find these fast jackrabbits in various habitats across North America. These include open grasslands, pastures and fields, forested areas, and high alpine tundra. This speedy hare is a strict herbivore and feeds primarily on green plants and flowers during summer. Jackrabbits are also nocturnal, meaning it is most active at night. During the day, they rest in shallow depressions in the ground called “forms.”
The peregrine falcon is an awe-inspiring bird of prey. It is the fastest animal on Earth, capable of reaching speeds over 200 mph in stoop dives to hunt its prey! Its sharp talons and keen eyesight make it an excellent hunter. Nicknamed the “wanderer,” the peregrine falcon is known for its long migratory flights. They’re the ultimate endurance flyer.
What does this fast falcon eat to stay energized? Their diet consists of various other birds and small mammals, such as mice and squirrels.
his fast bird is a global species, present on all continents except Antarctica. In Nevada and other urban areas, they take advantage of tall buildings to make their nests, allowing them to become beloved local celebrities.
Coyotes can run a jaw-dropping 43 mph! That’s why they earned a spot on our list of the fastest animals in Nevada. Along with being fast, coyotes also have a reputation for being adaptable and smart. They can adapt to almost any habitat, making them comfortable in urban and wild settings.
Coyotes are incredibly adaptable in their diet too. Opportunistic omnivores can eat various foods depending on what is available. Primarily, their diet consists of smaller animals like cottontail rabbits and ground squirrels — but they will also scavenge for carrion, grasses, fruits, seeds, and insects. No matter the circumstance or availability of food sources, these resilient animals always find a way to survive! And they do it as a team.
Believe it or not, coyotes are highly social creatures who often live in packs with dominant alpha males and females. Only the alphas reproduce the pack during the breeding season from January to March. The other pack members take on the important task of defending their territory.
Big Brown Bat
The big brown bat is one of the fastest flying mammals in Nevada, reaching up to 40 mph. Bats use their wings as “sails” that help propel them forward at incredible speeds. They zig-zag around branches and trees on their way!
The big brown bat is another endurance flyer. Once a bat starts to fly, they never stop. When they want to drink, bats find a body of water, open their mouths, and swoop down for a sip! When they want to eat, these creatures use echolocation to find their way and hunt their prey.
In addition to being essential pollinators, they are also great indicator species since they need particular habitats to survive. For example, they require humid air with trees or other tall structures near water to roost and feed.
They can also live in large colonies, with as many as 400 bats living in one place! They typically perch during the day hanging upside down and then emerge at dusk each night to start hunting for food.
The desert sidewinder is a small snake native to Nevada that can reach up to 18 mph. These desert dwellers are an incredible species, and it’s no wonder they’ve been able to adapt to such harsh conditions — they’re fast and agile.
The sidewinder moves by throwing its body into a series of tight “S” shaped coils, inching forward with each loop. This unique form of locomotion enables the sidewinder to move quickly over sandy surfaces while avoiding predator detection.
Also known as the “horned rattlesnake,” sidewinders thrive in the Mojave Desert. Aside from its eye-catching horns and distinctively patterned scales, this species has some unique characteristics that make it particularly interesting!
For starters, sidewinders are the fastest-moving rattlesnakes. Secondly, these snakes don’t lay eggs but give birth to live young. Female sidewinders store their eggs inside their bodies until they are ready to hatch. Once hatched, these snakes birth live young — usually in litters of 5 to18!
Lastly, these venomous reptiles use their tails to attract prey. They’ll rattle their tails to spark the curiosity of lizards. When the lizards come by to see what the shaking is all about, the sidewinder will lunge out of the sand and strike!
Moose are also known as “rubber-nosed swamp donkeys” because they seem not to care about very wet terrain or bogs. They are, however, incredibly fast runners. Moose calves can outrun a human by the time they’re five days old! And if that wasn’t impressive enough, moose can kick in any direction with their front hooves.
Moose are great swimmers too! They can zoom through the water at up to 6 mph and go for two hours straight without stopping. Even more impressive, there have been reports of a moose swimming an unbelievable 10 miles in one go!
For a while, there weren’t many moose in Nevada. But now, the moose population is making a comeback. An estimated 100 live in Nevada, and the numbers are rising. Moose are expanding their territory to Elko and Humboldt counties in Nevada. These habitats provide them with the perfect wet riparian areas, and plenty of aspen and mahogany trees to eat. Some moose have been seen as far south as the Ruby Mountains southeast of Elko.
Did you know that Nevada is home to a unique species of deer? Mule deer are the only native deer in the state and can easily be identified by their long, mule-like ears. Their coloring varies from light ash gray to dark brown, with a white patch on their throats to complete the look. They’re one of the most common animals in Nevada and can reach up to 40 mph.
These deer are fast and hardy. They have a life span of 10-12 years and can weigh over 300 pounds! Male mule deer will sport impressive antlers during the breeding season from late November to mid-December. But even with all that headgear, they can still easily outrun predators. They can even outrun a horse at full force!
This four-legged mammal has adapted specialized leg muscles that boost their speed to outrun predators and swiftly maneuver through thickly forested areas. Their legs also help them swim quickly too. However, they rarely use the water as means of escape from predators. Instead, they rely on their swift feet to get them out of danger.
Great Horned Owl
Next on our list of the fastest animals in Nevada, we have the great horned owl. This fast-flying bird of prey can reach speeds of up to 40 mph! They have feathered faces that help reduce wind resistance in flight and large eyes that help them see well at night. Their short but wide wings help them quickly fly through the forest, and their soft feathers allow for silent flying so they can sneak up on unsuspecting prey!
Great horned owls’ big eyes and wide pupils give them a strong advantage when hunting. Unlike humans, their eyes don’t move in their sockets. Instead, they can swivel their heads to look in any direction to find a meal.
These fast and voracious eaters enjoy a wide variety of prey, from small rodents to skunks and geese. Similarly to other owls, they sometimes swallow their meal in one fell swoop, then regurgitate pellets containing the bones, fur, and other indigestible parts of the meal.
Despite the name, this bird doesn’t have any horns! The great horned owl gets its name from its distinctive tufts of feathers on its head, known as plumicorns. Scientists may not know why great horned owls have distinctive tufts of feathers on their heads, but there are a few fun theories. These tufts could help identify each other in the forest or blend into the environment and look less like prey. It’s an interesting mystery that has yet to be solved.
Great Basin Collared Lizard
The Great Basin collared lizard is another one of the fastest animals in Nevada! These little guys can reach speeds of 15 mph. When you add in their impressive bite force, it makes them formidable hunters. Their diet consists mainly of insects, spiders, small mammals, reptiles, and other small animals.
Commonly known as desert or Mojave black-collared lizards, their range extends from southeastern Oregon to southern Arizona. Collared lizards are known for their bright colors, including shades of yellow, orange, and red. They also have a unique black collar that runs from behind the head to the shoulder region.
With the ability to run up to 15 mph, they can easily outrun predators such as foxes, snakes, and birds. Even more impressive is their astounding agility! These lizards can run on two legs! Although they can only go this fast for a short time, it gives them enough time to hide in small spaces.
When seeking shelter, these reptiles prefer sloping rocky areas. Their favorite spots include canyons, rock piles, washes, and slopes. Here, they can bask in the sun while keeping an eye on their surroundings for potential prey and predators.
Did you know that smaller black bears can run up to 30 mph? That’s pretty fast! They can even do it uphill, downhill, and on level ground. But if a bear puts on too much winter weight, it’ll overheat and tire quickly. So the leaner the bear, the faster the speed.
Black bears are the only species of bear found in Nevada. And while they may be named after their color, they come in many shades. A black bear’s coat can range from blonde to brown to cinnamon.
These majestic beasts have a keen sense of smell, thanks to their small eyes, rounded ears, and long snouts. This helps them sniff out food items up to miles away! These animals are very determined too. This video of a black bear ripping out a wall to get a meal is a great example.
Believe it or not, there are 500 black bears found in the mountainous western part of Nevada. They are part of the Sierra Nevada black bear population, including bears from northern California and southern Oregon! How incredible is that?!
Final Thoughts on Fastest Animals in Nevada
No matter what time of year it is or what animal you spot in Nevada, one thing’s for sure: speed reigns supreme in the desert. From jackrabbits to mule deer and beyond, these incredible creatures will always leave you in awe of their agility and strength.
This state is home to many fast-moving animals that can outrun predators, escape danger, and survive in harsh desert environments. We only had time to name some of the fastest animals in Nevada. So here’s a quick shout-out to the kangaroo rats, wild horses, and the swift fox! If you don’t know what a kangaroo rat is, you owe it to yourself to check out this article.
From fast flyers to speedy slithers, Nevada offers the incredible opportunity to observe some of nature’s speediest species in action. The next time you go exploring, keep your eyes open for these swift creatures! You might catch a glimpse of them as they move through their habitat.
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