10 Animals Who are Masters of Travel
Everybody loves those three words - travel and adventure.
It stirs the imagination and invigorates the soul within.
But, we're not the only ones.
Many of the earth's animal species live an adrenaline filled life, journeying to, within, and across countries and continents. Some animals cover enormous distances in a year, enough to make the average frequent flyer card holder turn green with envy.
Here are 10 of the best - all regulars on the travel and adventure circuit, footloose and fancy free.
1. Red Crabs of Christmas Island
This stunning island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Western Australia is home to the Red Crab, a species very fond of group travel. Between October and November, these crazy crustaceans synchronise their migration, forming a red carpet across the island as they move together heading out from the forests towards the coast to breed. They travel approximately 5kms over about 5 days and force the island’s human inhabitants to close roads and limit outdoor activities so as to allow the crabs free roam to get to where they are going.
2. Serengeti Wildebeest
These large gnus have a menacing appearance and have certainly made travel a way of life! They migrate about 1,600kms a year, continually in the search for food and water in the harsh Serengeti lands of Africa. They travel in large herds and these numbers can reach up to 1.5 million in May and June each year when they head north in search of greener pastures. This awe-inspiring annual migration which also include zebra and gazelle is widely recognised as one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth.
3. Atlantic and Pacific Salmon
These incredible fish sure like a challenge when it comes to travel and adventure. They can travel up to 3,000kms, migrating from the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans back up the rivers to where they themselves were born, to spawn. This is an exciting time for predators, such as the grizzly bear and birds of prey as these fish leap out of the water to propel themselves upstream, fighting the current, towards their final destination.
4. The Arctic Tern
This bird takes long distance travel to a new level. These birds have amazing endurance abilities and have the longest migration of any animal on earth. They travel on average 71,000km every year, traveling from one end of the world to the other – Greenland and the Arctic all the way to the Antarctic. They live for around 30 years and can travel the equivalent of 3 return trips to the moon over a lifetime!
5. Humpback Whales
These gentle giants are a sentimental favourite with Australians. The humble Humpback boasts the longest migration for any mammal on earth and travel approximately 10,000kms annually. They can be spotted frolicking off the east coast of Australia between April and November as they migrate north from the Antarctic to subtropic waters to breed. Upon returning, they spend the summer months feeding in the Antarctic waters.
6. Monarch Butterfly
This butterfly is one of the most beautiful animals to journey our planet. These stunning insects are so committed to travel and adventure, their migration cycle is longer than their own lifespan! No one butterfly does the entire trip, it can take two to three generations to complete the cycle. They travel approximately 3,100kms, leading them through Canada, North America and Mexico.
7. Emperor Penguins
The Emperor Penguins of the Antarctic became a worldwide sensation for their travel adventures following the release of the documentary movie, The March of Penguins in 2005. When it comes to traveling, no one does it as gracefully or as meticulously as these marvelous birds. These large, statuesque penguins migrate in March to breed, with colonies all heading to the same place at the same time, meeting with their partners to lay and care for their eggs. These animals are so committed to their offspring, with both mum and dad taking turns to care for their baby from egg to adolescence.
8. Green Turtles
Sea Turtles can be tricky to keep track of and it has only been in recent decades that scientists have been able to construct an understanding of their underwater lives and their commitment to travel and adventure. The Green Turtle, who can migrate up to 2,600kms between their nesting and feeding grounds, can be found across tropical northern Australia, including the Great Barrier Reef. They return to the same beaches from which they dug themselves out of to produce the next generation, which is incredible in itself, as it takes them up to 30 years to mature! What a terrific memory!
9. Polar Bears
These wild, majestic animals from the frozen world migrate based on the seasons and snow. Polar bears rely on the annual formation of ice in the winter, which they need to be able to hunt. When the ice begins to melt in the warmer months, they return to land, awaiting the next round of ice. Their reliance on the winter ice means they are impacted severely by climate change, as there has been a recorded decrease in ice forming due to warmer temperatures. The hungry bears must stay on land longer, and can struggle to survive and feed their young.
10. African Elephants
African Elephants are the ultimate travel lovers. They roam through the African forests and deserts, traveling in large herds, migrating over long distances in search of food. Their herds are led by the matriarch – the oldest female. She guides the herd, is on constant alert for any danger and, ensures the group remains together and the calves are protected. Unfortunately, human expansion, drought, and fire, have seen this giant of the animal kingdom having to travel increasingly greater distances to seek out safer land.