Long endurance animals have the physical stamina to go the distance, whether running, flying, or swimming. Interestingly enough, endurance running is a hidden talent among humans as well and we can sustain energy for distances longer than most animals.
However, when it comes to the animal kingdom, there are 15 species with notable stamina. Whether through their ability to run long distances or sustain long migration routes, read on to learn more about these long endurance animals.
15 long endurance animals
From record-breaking migration to non-stop running distances, learn about 15 long endurance animals and where you can find them.
Scientific name: Struthio camelus
The largest bird, ostriches, are also well known as the best marathon runners worldwide. They are estimated to run the distance of a marathon in 45 minutes by using the elastic energy stored in their leg tendons.
This allows them to run with half the energy required by most animals. In the wild, they live in Sub-Saharan Africa’s semi-arid desert plains.
2. Bactrian camel
Scientific name: Camelus bactrianus
Camels are well known for their ability to store days worth of fat in their humps, allowing them to travel long distances without stopping for food or water. The Bactrian camel, especially, can carry over 440 pounds of supplies while walking 31 miles in a day. You can find these camels in and around the Great Gobi National Park in western China and Mongolia.
Scientific name: Canis lupus
While hunting, these apex predators will travel as much as 30 miles per day. Wolves can run in short bursts of up to 35 mph but travel all day at a trot of 5 mph. They use their endurance in the wild to tire out prey that is faster than them through a relentless pursuit. Wolves are widely distributed wild animals, living in North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia.
Scientific name: Equus quagga
Zebras live in eastern and southern Africa, especially in the savanna woodlands and treeless grasslands. While they aren’t the fastest animals out there, their incredible stamina is rarely outmatched by predators.
They can run at their full speed of 40 mph for upwards of a mile and sustain a lower speed for longer distances. Additionally, they undertake one of the longest linear migrations for land mammals in Africa.
5. Alaskan bar-tailed godwit
Scientific name: Limosa lapponica
The Alaskan bar-tailed godwit embarks on an annual migration of around 15,500 miles between Alaska and New Zealand. Their one-way journey of 7,000 miles occurs in 8 days without rest or food. There’s little surprise they hold the record for the longest nonstop journey through the air.
6. Great snipe
Scientific name: Gallinago media
Another long-haul migratory bird is the great snipe. Despite their plumpness, they have incredible energy reserves allowing them to reach speeds of 60 mph over a distance of 4,225 miles. When these birds fly from Scandinavia to Sub-Saharan Africa, they rarely take breaks and lose half their weight as a result of the migration.
7. Arctic Tern
Scientific name: Sterna paradisaea
The medium-sized Arctic Tern migrates from pole to pole every year. Their journey from Greenland to the Weddell Sea and back results in a 55,923-mile migration route. These birds will sleep and eat while in the air and utilize breeze currents to glide and conserve energy.
8. Adélie penguin
Scientific name: Pygoscelis adeliae
Although they can’t fly, the Adélie penguin’s migration route is still impressive. They will trek over 8,000 miles every year when they move from their breeding colony to winter grounds. These penguins live mostly in the Antarctic Circle.
9. Eastern gray whale
Scientific name: Eschrichtius robustus
The longest mammal migration record is held by the eastern gray whale that journeys nearly 14,000 miles from Mexico waters to Russia and back. These massive whales are 36 to 46 feet long but are also considered gentle giants and known to seek human contact in Baja California lagoons.
10. North Pacific humpback whales
Scientific name: Megaptera novaeangliae
The record-holder before the gray whale was the North Pacific humpback whale that migrates 11,706 miles round trip between Hawaii and Alaska. They complete a one-way trip in as few as 28 days! While they average at 3 to 9 mph, these whales can reach 16.5 mph in bursts when avoiding danger.
11. Great white shark
Scientific name: Carcharodon carcharias
Great white sharks have the longest recorded shark migration between the coasts of Australia and South Africa. They journey around 6,900 miles in only 99 days. They can also handle water depths of up to 3,900 feet, where water pressure is over 120 times higher than at sea level.
12. Leatherback sea turtles
Scientific name: Dermochelys coriacea
Staying on the move helps keep leatherback sea turtles safe and they have the endurance to accommodate it. These turtles typically migrate around 6,000 miles.
However, scientists tracked one leatherback between Northwest America, Indonesia, and Papua where the turtle traveled 12,700 miles in 647 days.
13. Pronghorn antelope
Scientific name: Antilocapra americana
When it comes to long-distance running endurance, pronghorn antelopes need to make the list. They can maintain speeds of 60 mph for miles at a time, helping them outrun predators. For longer distances, they can sustain 30 mph for around an hour.
14. Blue wildebeest
Scientific name: Connochaetes taurinus
The blue wildebeest native to East Africa embark on a circular migration around the Serengeti each year after the rainy season. The journey is between 500 to 1,000 miles and the migrating herds can stretch to 25 miles long as they cross rivers, plains, and cliffs. They are also excellent runners, including calves being able to run within 10 minutes of birth.
15. Porcupine caribou
Scientific name: Rangifer tarandus granti
You can find porcupine caribou in the boreal forests of Alaska and Canada. Every year they migrate further north to escape the heat and find food. The journey can reach over 3,000 miles. Their powerful muscles and relatively large heart size contribute to their endurance.