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Top 10 Animal Migrations

Published on 20 September, 2013 at 5:19 am By

Animals around the world take on long journeys that might seem impossible to us. Imagine walking thousands of miles without any maps or navigation tools and then imagine doing it every year. That’s what a lot of animal species do. We all know about migratory birds and for some reason it feels easier to fly long distances but there are other animals and fish that take on treacherous journeys at least once in their lifetime driven by some inner instinct. There are insects that migrate too and take more than one generation to complete the trip. Baffled? Read here to know about some animal migrations that show the awesomeness of mother nature.

10. Tuna:

Tuna are a migratory fish that travel large distances in search of food and travel in large groups. They also are one of the fastest swimming fish in the oceans. In studies done for over 10 years tuna from different locations were tracked and it was found that some of them travel as much as 25,000 miles in their life time. That is equivalent to crossing the Pacific Ocean between U.S. and Japan 3 times in the span of just 20 months.


9. Sea Turtles:


Sea turtles are one of the most fascinating of migratory animals. They have been recorded to travel very long distances in the open sea. Some leatherback turtles were recorded to have traveled 12,000 miles from Indonesia to U.S. in just 647 days. The fascinating thing is that when it is time to mate and lay eggs these turtles automatically find their way back to the same beach that they were born on.

Sea Turtles

8. Sharks:

Sharks are not thought to be migratory animals but they are. The great white sharks can travel very large distances in search of food. Some great whites have been found to travel the complete length of the Indian Ocean between Australia and South Africa. They made this round trip in a year. Whale sharks also migrate but their migratory patterns are not yet completely understood.


7. Christmas Island Red Crabs:

One amazing scene occurs on Christmas Island in Australia during a particular season when the red crabs of the island travel en masse to the ocean to lay their eggs. There are so many crabs in the migration that it seems that a red carpet is moving through the island. Often roads have to be closed in the island during this season.

Christmas Island Red Crabs

6. Baleen Whales:

Baleen whales such as the Grey whale and the Humpback whales make very long journeys annually. The grey whale travels as much as 14,000 miles annually and the Humpback travels 16,000 miles in a round trip. In winter they travel to warmer waters to give birth and in summer they travel to the colder waters of Arctic and Antarctic to feed. Other whales also migrate but Baleen whales travel the longest.

Baleen Whales

5. Dragonflies:

Dragonflies were known to be capable of travelling long distance but their migratory patterns were unknown. Now it has been found that dragonflies make the longest migration by any insect species. They travel 8000 to 12,000 miles from India to Maldives to Seychelles, Mozambique, Uganda and back. They do this in the form of a relay race in 4 generations. They seem to follow the rains from the monsoon season in India to the rainy season in eastern and southern Africa.


4. Caribou:

North American Caribou form the largest migration in Americas and the longest migration by land animals in the world, covering almost 3,000 miles annually. They travel south in the winter to forested areas and in the summer travel north to superior calving grounds. During the migration the herd can grow to up to half a million individuals which is a number only less impressive than the African Wildebeest migration.


3. Wildebeest:


One of  the most famous animal migrations has to be the African Wildebeest migration. They travel great distances each year in search of greener pastures. The herd has many millions of individuals. They are also joined by over 200,000 zebras and 500,000 gazelles. They are followed by Africa’s predators and crocodiles stalk the waters that they have to cross. The spectacle is one of the most impressive natural phenomena in the world.


2. Salmon:

The greatest journey is the life of a salmon fish. They are born in the freshwater mountain streams and flow downstream to meet the sea. They spend their lives in the sea and then travel all way back to lay eggs and die in the same stream where they were born. Their journey is incredible because they travel in both sea water and fresh water and manage to swim upstream in fast flowing mountain rivers. They even manage to jump up small waterfalls and do whatever it takes to reach their home. They do all this only to lay eggs and then die as the next generation of salmon start off on their incredible journey.


1. Monarch Butterflies:


Monarch butterfly migrations are the most beautiful spectacle in the natural world. Millions of butterflies travel as much as 4,349 miles across the world. They’ve also been known to cross the Atlantic Ocean. They cover this journey in three or four generations just like the dragonflies. They travel across North America to reach Mexico. They have also been found in Australia and New Zealand.

Monarch Butterflies


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