10 Animals That Go That Extra Mile

Whether it’s for mating or to find a new habitat, animal explorers can cross continents. Here are some of the best-travelled explorers from the animal kingdom.

1) Arctic terns:

Arctic terns are the champions of long distance travelling. Each year flocks of terns leave their breeding grounds in the Arctic to fly 11,000 miles to a winter home in Antarctica. Some terns live in northern Canada and cross the Atlantic to Europe and then south to Antarctica, again a distance of about 11,000 miles.

2) Humpback whales:

While other species of whale are travellers, such as the grey whale which migrates between the waters of Mexico and the Arctic seas, the humpback whale travels further than any other mammal on the planet, often over 5000 miles at a time. Humpbacks only breed in warm water, so leave their feeding grounds in the Antarctic to go south to Central America.

3) Fruit bats:

Africa’s biggest mammal movement sees around eight million fruit bats take to the skies every year. The bats travel all over Africa in search of food, often covering as much as 800 miles in a month.

4) Wildebeest:

Wildebeest, water buffaloes or gnus are known across Africa for their long travels to find new pastures. Drought normally makes them go on the move in around May or June, looking for better quality grass and vegetation, and they can travel for over 1000 miles.

5) Swallows:

Swallows are a familiar sight in Britain in the summer, migrating north from the Pacific and Indian oceans. The barn swallow probably travels the most of all the different swallow species, regularly breeding in the Northern Hemisphere and wintering in the Southern.

6) Caribou:

Some herds of North American caribou travel over 3000 miles over a year, with cows heading north to the Arctic shore in the spring to give birth. They move back to their forest habitat in autumn.

7) Monarch butterfly:

The monarch is called ‘the wanderer’ in Australia and New Zealand, and is the most travelled insect in the world. Monarchs move south from North to Central America in winter and back again in summer, which covers three or four butterfly lifespans.

8) Christmas Island red crabs:

It may be only a distance of a few miles, but for red crabs on the Australian Christmas Island, getting from their home in the rainforest to their breeding ground by the seashore takes them five or six days, travelling 12 hours a day. They march on down streets, through shopping centers and past anything in their way, and are now a well known part of Christmas Island life.


A swarm of travelling locusts can darken the sky for miles. Locusts travel when their swarm becomes too big, going for hundreds or thousands of miles to find new pastures. One swarm of the Rocky Mountain locust had an estimated 124 billion locusts, causing devastation to plants and crops in its path.

10) Salmon:

Salmon can travel hundreds of miles for some species, and thousands for others, travelling to breed from their homes in seawater to the freshwater spot they were hatched. Pacific salmon can travel all along the coast of the USA, Canada and Alaska, while Atlantic salmon can travel from the eastern American coast past Greenland and Iceland to Britain and Scandinavia.

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