Adapted from The National Humane Review March/April 1964.

How fast … is a bird?

According to some experts, birds rarely fly above 5,000 feet, so bird life is not often encountered above that height. But below that height they can be spotted zooming around at many different speeds.

The duck hawk is one of the fastest birds; it has been clocked at between 150 to 200 miles per hour (mph); golden eagle at 120 mph; canvasback duck at 72 mph; Canada goose, crow, and mallard at 60 mph; whistling swan at 58 mph (steadily at 1,500 feet when migrating).

How fast … is a snake?

Snakes may travel at a comparatively slow rate of speed most of the time, but for creatures without legs, they can really move when necessary! The Colorado desert whip snake is about the fastest crawler—its estimated maximum speed is 3.60 mph, although it only goes .29 mph when prowling around. Other speedy snakes are the Florida racer with a maximum speed of 3.07 mph; sidewinder rattlesnake at 2.04 mph; ribbon snake at 2 mph.

However, Butler’s garter snake has a more leisurely pace. This snake takes an hour at top speed to travel three fourths of a mile. But the California boa is even slower. Its estimated prowling speed is .09 mph. When in a hurry it can only up that speed to .22 mph.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Dick Brown