Elephants are enormous animals that leave people wondering what these animals are capable of doing. For example, can elephants swim, or can elephants run? Thanks to elephant research in Africa, elephant experts have answered these questions and more. Our team wants to share insight into if elephants really can run and if it is possible to outrun an elephant.
Can elephants run?
Whether an elephant can run or not is up for debate. The term “run” refers to moving faster than walking and never having all feet on the ground simultaneously. Elephants do not complete this requirement. These animals have their feet on the floor at all times, even when moving fast.
Some scientists believe they can run but in their unique way because their center of mass does bounce at high speeds, which meets a running requirement. However, other scientists still believe they do not technically run because their foot pattern stays the same even when speeding up.
Most four-legged animals change their footfall patterns as their speed increases. These animals use a walk at slow speeds, a trot at medium speed and a gallop at fast speeds - each of these speeds has a different footfall pattern. Elephants, on the other hand, maintain the same footfall pattern. Their feet always go right hind foot, right front foot, left hind foot, left front foot.
How fast can elephants "run"
Elephants can move pretty fast, whether you call it a power walk or run. It is estimated that the fastest speed an elephant can run is at 25 mph, with most elephants running at 15 mph. However, the rates at which an elephant can "run" vary on the different types.
There are three kinds of elephants: the African savanna elephant, African forest elephant and the Asian elephant. The African savanna elephant is the largest elephant standing at an average length of 24 feet and 13 feet in height. These animals can weigh up to 11 tons.
The African forest elephant is slightly smaller than the African savanna elephant. This elephant can grow to 5.9 to 7.9 feet tall and weigh 2.2 to 2.4 tons. The Asian elephants are smaller than the African elephants. This kind of elephant can grow as large as 6 to 12 feet tall and weigh 6,000 to 12,000 pounds.
The fastest kind of elephant is the African savanna elephant, which can reach speeds of 25 mph. The next fastest is the African forest elephant, which can reach speeds of 24 mph. In last place comes the Asian elephant, which can reach speeds of up to 15 mph.
Can a human outrun an elephant?
Although elephants do not technically run, they are faster than a human. The average speed of a male is 8 mph and 6.5 mph for a female. As you read from above, elephants can reach 25 mph at top speed. Trying to outrun an elephant is not wise because you could get stomped.
The good thing is that elephants are communicative animals and give cues before charging. If you happen to come across an upset elephant, look at its ears and feet. Before charging, elephants do a mock charge - where they flap their ears, shake their heads and release a loud trumpet. Elephant conflict may be avoided by not bringing food to an elephant area, staying away from baby elephants and not spooking them.
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