Humans are not exactly designed for speed. While we may be considered an alpha predator (only because of our big brains), there are many creatures that are considerably faster when it comes to a foot race. The fastest man on earth, Olympian sprinter Usain Bolt, clocked in at 27.5 miles per hour. He's a highly trained professional athlete and an exception. Most average sprinters in fairly decent shape top out at about 15 miles per hour, according to Trackspikes. For the sake of this article, let's say you can briefly sprint at a speed of up to 20 miles per hour. So, what animals commonly found in Montana could you outrun?

Beaver. You should be able to easily outrun a beaver if you happen to come across one doing beaver things in the woods. does't reveal a beavers top land speed. I'm guessing because nobody has ever taken the time to clock them on land. However, someone did clock them in the water, where the beaver really shines.

Beavers can run on land, but that is not their greatest skill. They fare much better in water, where they can swim as fast as 6 miles per hour.

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Porcupine. Thankfully, you'll have no problem outrunning a porcupine. These slow moving rodents top out at about 6 miles per hour, according to Animal Facts Encyclopedia.

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Raccoon. A raccoon might be an interesting race, as Live Science says they can hit speeds up to 15 miles per hour. If you ate your Wheaties that morning, perhaps you'll win a footrace with a raccoon. If you border on out-of-shape (like me) there's a good chance the raccoon will catch you. Another crazy raccoon fact? They can survive falls up to 40 feet! Thankfully, they don't drop out of trees to attack people.

Credit: Rexlis

Opossum. An opossum (interchangeably called a possum) is a great climber and a valuable pest-eater. One thing it's not... is fast. The only stat I could find about his speed came from a pests control company who states the possum can only run about 3.5 miles per hour. One time when I was little kid, I remember reaching into a bag of dog food we had in a shed and got the surprise of my life when a possum that was inside the bag (munching away on Kibbles-n-Bits) freaked out at me. You've never seen a little kid run so fast. Way faster than the opossum, who was likely just as startled as me.

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Rattle snake. I know... a snake can't run and it's technically a reptile not an animal.  But for the sake of this article, we wanted to know if we can outrun Montana's only venomous snake. The good news, yes! Pets On Mom says that rattle snakes can only slither about 2 - 3 miles per hour. The bad new? They can strike incredibly fast, up to 8 FEET PER SECOND, according to herpetologists.

That's about all you can outrun when it comes to native Montana animals. Nearly every creature you may encounter in the wilds of our state are substantially faster in a foot race. Here are some of quickest:

  • Antelope. They are 2nd fasted animal on land, second only to the cheetah and can reach speeds around 65 miles per hour.
  • Grizzly Bear. Don't let their large bodies and lumbering appearance fool you. Washington State University says the grizzly can top 35 miles per hour. Watch how fast they are in this video of a grizzly chasing a mountain goat.
  • Moose. Aww, they look docile. But don't get between a momma moose and her offspring. They can gallop up to 35 miles per hour according to Live Science and aren't afraid to charge a human.
  • Lynx. This kitty is really fast. A to Z Animals reports the lynx can run up to 50 miles per hour.

Good thing we can count on using our heads instead of our feet to avoid unplanned encounters with Montana wildlife. Except for those tourists who think they can outrun bison in Yellowstone.

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