New Hampshire is one of six US states in New England and features a stunning landscape with white granite mountains, woodlands, valleys, and seacoast. It is one of the coldest regions in the country, with an unpredictable climate and varied seasons. The state’s wide-ranging geography and weather allow over 500 diverse wildlife species to thrive, including woodland and marine animals. Discover the fastest animals in New Hampshire, including the speediest creature on earth!

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon
The peregrine falcon is the fastest animal on earth. Griffiths

The peregrine falcon is the fastest animal on earth, reaching speeds up to 240 mph! They can dive from an altitude of 3,000 feet and maintain intense speeds for long periods. Everything about their bodies is aerodynamic, including their sharply curved bills, which prevent their lungs from overinflating and allow them to breathe freely. The American B-2 stealth bomber was designed after this falcon; its shape and wing design mimic the peregrine, allowing it to reach incredible rates. Peregrine falcons are legally protected in New Hampshire and primarily reside in the White Mountains. Other speedy New England falcons include the American kestrel (40 mph), merlin (30 mph), and gyrfalcon (68 mph). 

Mountain Lion

puma vs Mountain lion
Seeing a mountain lion in New Hampshire is a rare occurrence.

Scott E Read/

Ah, the elusive New Hampshire mountain lion. The eastern species of this big cat apparently went extinct in the state during the 1800s, but the many reported sightings say otherwise. Although officials never denied there are mountain lions, they have also never confirmed their presence. Despite the confusion, seeing a mountain lion in New Hampshire is definitely a rare occurrence. And due to their incredible 50 mph speeds, you may not want to see one. While not quite as fast as a cheetah, they are absolutely faster than a human! Their large, powerful legs propel their muscular bodies forward and permit them to jump up to 18 feet high. 

Grey Fox

Mysterious Gray Animals - Gray Fox
Grey foxes are the fastest fox breed.

The grey fox typically walks or trots at a leisurely pace, but this mammal can reach speeds up to 42 miles per hour when running. Grey foxes are the fastest fox breed and, unlike other foxes, can swiftly climb trees by jumping onto branches. These predators have a body built for speed, and running (and leaping and pouncing) is their number one hunting advantage. They also have retractable claws that enable them to climb, quickly catching some of the swiftest prey animals. You can find grey foxes across most of New Hampshire, but they have a significant population in the state’s southern portion.


Coyote Snarling
Coyotes are common throughout every county in New Hampshire.

Brenda Carson/

Like most predators, coyotes have adapted to survive in their ecosystem, which includes keeping up with quick and agile prey like rabbits and deer. The average speed of a coyote is 20 mph, but they can easily topple at 40 mph when chasing game or fleeing danger. They can maintain their max speed for at least one mile, which is helpful in chasing down their meal. They are also pack hunters and work together to take down bigger animals. Coyotes are common throughout every county in New Hampshire, living primarily in forested habitats.


Moose Size Comparison - Moose in Field
Moose have impressively long, strong legs, which they use to run, jump, and swim.

Michael Liggett/

Moose can reach up to ten feet tall and weigh over 1,500 pounds. But despite their behemoth size, they are pretty swift and agile. Moose have an average trotting speed of 20 miles per hour but can quickly reach up to 35 mph when running over short distances. These creatures have impressively long, strong legs, which they use to run, jump, and swim (up to six miles per hour). You can find moose in all New Hampshire counties, but they primarily reside in the Great North Woods.


Bobcats prefer to stalk their prey quietly.

Bobcats are not typically known for running as they prefer to stalk their prey quietly. But these nimble cats are excellent climbers and runners, reaching speeds up to 30 miles per hour. They can travel seven miles in one evening, leaping and bounding through their forest habitat. However, they are silent stalkers who place their back feet in the same spots as their front feet to reduce noise. And their muscles are powerful and well-coordinated, making them the perfect predator. You can spot them in young forest stands throughout the state.

Black Bear

Black Bear Population by State
Black bears are relatively common in New Hampshire, especially near forested mountains.


How fast a black bear runs depends on how much winter weight he’s packing. Plump bears tend to overheat and tire quicker, but lean bears are surprisingly speedy, running at rates over 30 miles per hour. However, even skinny bears can only maintain this fast pace over short distances. You may not think a species of this size can move swiftly, but bears have powerful hind legs that can propel hundreds of pounds easily. Black bears are relatively common in New Hampshire, especially near forested mountains.

White-Tailed Deer

White-tail Deer Stag, Adirondack Mountains, upstate New York.
White-tailed deer are abundant in New Hampshire’s southern counties and along the Connecticut River Valley.

Tom Reichner/

Deer are major prey animals and play an essential role in the New Hampshire ecosystem. But deer don’t go down without a fight (or should I say a sprint). These spry animals can reach speeds between 30 and 40 mph when running and up to 15 mph when swimming. To compare, no Olympic swimmer has ever exceeded six miles per hour! Researchers discovered that deer have more type II muscle fibers (fast twitch muscles) than humans and other animals. These specialized fibers allow them greater bursts of speed. However, they can only maintain this speed for a short distance. White-tailed deer are abundant in the state’s southern counties and along the Connecticut River Valley.

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