Have you ever thought about how wonderful evolved animals with webbed feet are? These amazing animals have adapted over time to make them more efficient within an aquatic environment. Webbed feet can be described as the extra skin that connects the toes.
You will probably be able to guess some of the animals with webbed feet that make our list. But others may surprise you! Below we will explore these remarkable animals and learn a bit more about them.
15 Extraordinary Animals with Webbed Feet
First up we have penguins. These are majestic seabirds that make their home in the southern hemisphere. Only one type of penguin lives in the northern hemisphere. They live in Galapagos Islands.
Expert Tip: Penguins cannot fly but boy can they swim! Their webbed feet make them phenomenal swimmers.
However, they make them awkward on land. You may have noticed their cute waddle walk. There are currently 18 species of penguins in the world today.
They come in various colors even though the more well-known species are black and white. They also range in size. The largest penguin is the Emperor who can weigh as much as 100 pounds. The smallest penguin is the Eudyptula minor which is found in Australia and New Zealand.
2. Duck-Billed Platypuses
This extraordinary mammal that has fascinated people for generations makes it onto our list of animals with webbed feet. Platypuses seem like a walking contradiction. Which makes them one of the most fun creatures on the planet.
They have a rubbery snout that is shaped like a duck’s bill. They lay legs and are one of the few venomous mammals in the world. They are brown and furry.
It is important to note that there is more webbing on their front feet than on the back feet. The webbing also does a neat folding trick when the platypus walks on land. They forage for most of their food in rivers, streams, and lagoons. So their webbed feet are perfect for their environment.
3. Water Opossums
This webbed foot critter lives in the South American forests near freshwater lakes and streams. They are also known as the yapok. They are marsupials which are animals with pouches. The water opossum is special because both the male and the female have pouches. They come out at night to hunt for fish, crabs, and other animals.
Water Opossums have black and grey pattern fur which is waterproof. Their webbed feet help them swim and also climb the trees in their natural habitat. Water Opossums are pretty small creatures and fully grown are just a little lighter than 2 pounds. They can grow up to 40 centimeters long.
4. Sea turtles
Sea turtles are one of the oldest animals on the planet and as such should be respected and preserved at all costs. All sea turtles have webbed feet and flippers to help them navigate the sea. And they certainly get around. They are highly migratory and are known to travel more than 10,000 in their lifetime.
Another amazing fact is that female sea turtles return to the place where they were born to lay their eggs. How cool is that?
They are herbivores and feed on seagrasses, algae, and seaweed. These creatures are not aggressive but if they feel threatened they will defend themselves with a sharp bite. There are seven sea turtle species:
- Olive ridley
- Kemp’s ridley
The largest sea turtle is leatherback and can grow to seven feet long. The hawksbill is the smallest and an adult is just about 3 feet long. Sea turtles roam all the oceans of the world except the icy waters of the Arctic.
These scavengers are a common sight at any beach. They eat small birds, fish, and small mammals. You may even see them rummaging through the garbage.
As you may have guessed seagulls can swim and their webbed feet make it easier to do. You may often see them diving into the water for their next meal. Their curved beaks help them procure their food. They have white and black feathers that they groom when they are taking a break from eating.
Did you know that seagulls are amazing parents? They are super attentive and both mom and dad take turns incubating the chicks. They also share the responsibility of feeding and protecting their youngsters. Seagulls are also one of the few creatures on the planet that can drink both fresh water and seawater.
6. Polar bears
These big guys also fall into the animals with webbed feet category. They are also sometimes called sea bears, white bears, great white northern bears, or ice bears. Polar bears live in the coastal area of the Arctic. Polar bears are our largest land carnivores. Uniquely adapted for the cold, they can move on ice and snow and swim in open water.
Expert Tip: Polar bears can swim for very long distances at a time. The longest swim recorded for a polar bear is 427 miles!
Seals are the main item in their diet. If there are no seals handy they may eat adult walruses, young beluga whales, or narwhals. An adult male can get as heavy as 1 500 pounds. However, most adult polar bears are usually under the 1000-pound mark. They are the largest land carnivore.
Polar bears are white it is a part of their camouflage so that they can blend in with their snowy environment.
These webbed-foot birds are easily identifiable with their larged-mouths. They love fish and can be seen diving into the ocean to hunt. Their webbed feet are undoubtedly pivotal in this activity. They also eat reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals. Pelicans live in large communities called colonies and mate for life.
There are 8 species of pelicans across the globe:
- Pink back
- Great white
- American white.
Their feather can be white, gray, or brown. The entire colony cares for baby chicks that hatch and are known to aggressively fight predators off to protect their babies. These animals with webbed feet can be a force to reckon with.
These are unusual animals with webbed feet that live in South America near water. They are the world’s largest rodents and love to swim!
Their webbed make them magnificent swimmers. They can remain underwater for up to 5 minutes. They are herbivores and eat the vegetation near the water’s edge. They can weigh up to 100 pounds.
If a Capybara is under attack he makes a loud barking noise to scare off his attacker and let others know there is danger. Being social creatures they often live in groups of 20 give or take.
Another rodent with webbed feet is the beaver. They are North America’s largest rodents and a fully grown beaver can weigh approximately 60 pounds. Their webbed feet enhance their swimming capabilities.
Expert Tip: Beavers can stay underwater without breathing for 15 minutes. They also have a transparent third eyelid that allows them to see quite well in the watery deep.
They are known for their large homes made out of mud, sticks, and logs. These homes are called lodges. Beavers are herbivores that eat aquatic plants, roots, twigs, and barks. They have claws that are long and sharp which they use to procure their food and build their homes.
These loud mammals are pros in the water because of their webbed feet. They have elongated bodies and short legs. Their fur is thick and waterproof to help them keep out the cold and regulate their body temperatures. Otters can be found in wetland environments across the globe except for Australia and Antarctica.
They eat crabs, reptiles, birds, frogs, crayfish, and fish. There are 13 species of otter. The largest is the giant otter that lives in South America and can get up to 6 feet long.
Otters are natural performers and extremely sociable. They love games and are extremely playful.
Otters are also quite curious and love to investigate new things. If you have ever been to the zoo, you will notice that otters are quite fussy about their coat and seem to be constantly grooming. We bet you did not know that an otter group is referred to as a raft!
We all love to see the one-legged display of flamingos. Flamingos spend a lot of time wading in the water. As such over time, their feet have evolved, becoming webbed for this activity. Their natural habitat is either estuarine lagoons or alkaline or saline lakes. They wade into the water to feed.
Their diet consists of tiny crustaceans, algae, brine shrimp, small seeds, and fly larvae. Have you ever wondered why flamingos are pink? Their pigmentation comes from their diet actually. They get it from eating a diet rich in carotenoids which can be found in blue-green algae and brine shrimps.
You are probably thinking that this should have been number 1. We just did not want to be too obvious. Ducks are basically the poster child for animals with webbed feet.
There are many different types of ducks and they can be found worldwide in wetland environments like bogs, lakes, marshes, and estuaries. They are the best paddlers because of their webbed feet.
They are omnivores eating crustaceans, worms, insects, pondweed, seeds, and even amphibians. Ducks will lay their eggs where ever they feel comfortable, but it is usually close to the water’s edge in grass or maybe in a hole in a tree.
Expert Tip: Ducks are sociable creatures they love to be in a large group of ducks for a good paddle. They don’t mind humans. Next time you get a chance to feed the ducks, don’t hesitate!
Up next we have these webbed foot paddlers that are related to the ducks. There are several species of geese across the globe. Unlike ducks, they are strictly herbivores. They love seeds, roots, leaves, berries, and grains.
You may encounter geese in marshes, fields, lakes, and ponds. They are not afraid of humans so they may even show up at your golf course. Geese can be categorized loosely as wild and domesticated. Their webbed feet allow them to paddle, navigating any body of water.
14. Eastern moles
These unusual little fellows spend their time underground. And they are different from other animals with webbed feet because their webbed toes help them move dirt, not water. As such they are expert diggers who can burrow throw certain soil types at an amazing rate.
Since Eastern moles spend most of their time underground, it is no surprise that they have poor eyesight. Other physical characteristics include their grey-brown fur and being approximately 6.5 inches in length. They eat the destructive insects in the soil.
The Eastern moles are found in North America, yes the name is a bit misleading. They can be found in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Meadows, open woodlands, pastured, and fields are their natural habitat. They prefer loamy soils.
15. Fishing cats
Last on our list of animals with webbed feet are fishing cats. Yes, you guessed it these cats are known for diving into the water to catch their next fish dinner. Their diet is not limited to fish though they also eat crabs, snakes, crayfish, birds, rodents, and even water insects. Fishing cats live in South and Southeast Asia.
They are considered medium-sized when compared to other cats in the cat family. They have grey-brown fur with spots which makes it hard to see them in their natural environment. They are usually found around marshes, swamps, mangroves, lakes, rivers, and wetlands. Of course, their webbed feet make them natural swimmers.
Why Are Animals Feet Webbed?
Animals around the world have a wide range of body features to help them make their way in the world. One of the most unusual of these is webbed feet.
If an animal’s toes are not separated from each other, they are often connected by a piece of skin. This skin connects the toes and gives the animal a distinctive foot feature. Some of these animals’ connective skin is so thick it’s tough to see each of the toes separately.
Animal experts tell us webbed feet may have developed over years of evolution, to help birds and other animals adapt to marshy or lakefront home fronts. Those animals need to live near water to find food and drink. Their specially-shaped feet allow them to survive in both watery and dry parts of their homes.
Webbed feet are found on birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Some specific examples are ducks, frogs, beavers, and the platypus.
So above we introduced a diverse list of 15 animals with webbed feet namely penguins, duck-billed platypuses, water opossums, sea turtles, seagulls, polar bears, pelicans, capybaras, beavers, otters, flamingos, ducks, geese, eastern moles, and fishing cats.
Together, we explored their physical characteristics, habitats, diet, habits and so much more. We hope that you now know a little more about these unique creatures who adapted to their environment in such a remarkable way.