7 Interesting Animals That Have Hands! See Pictures

When you think of animals, you usually think of them having four legs and a tail. But several animals have hands and even fingers on their hands.

A friend who works as a zoologist made me aware of this. One day when we were speaking about how animals gather food, I promptly told her that only primates collect food using their hands.

But she smiled and corrected me by saying that several other animals have hands with fingers. I was pretty amazed and was not ready to accept her argument till she showed me pictures.

This made me realize that there are indeed several animals that have hands, and here is the list of some of these creatures:

Animals with hands:

  • Squirrels
  • Raccoons
  • Monkeys
  • Kangaroos
  • Possums
  • Beavers
  • Koalas

Table of Contents

What animals have hands?

In this article, we will discuss seven animals with hands and how these creatures use them in their own way.

1. Squirrels

squirrel hands 15052022

Squirrels are a few rodents that use their forelimbs exactly like hands. They will use their paws like hands to hold the food and bite into it.

As squirrels love to eat nuts, it is easier for them to hold the nuts between their hands and break the shell with their sharp teeth.

You must have seen pictures of squirrels standing upright on their hind legs and using their forelimbs exactly like hands.

Squirrels can also be left-handed or right-handed, and it depends on the part of their brain that they use.

If you have a pet squirrel, you can hand things like sticks or twigs to identify which hand it prefers to hold the item. This will be their dominant hand, similar to humans.

2. Raccoons

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Raccoons also have hands as well as five long fingers. At the end of each finger, there is a sharp fingernail.

The raccoons have five fingers, but none of them are thumbs. Hence, they are unable to grasp any object as we humans can.

But they can lift objects with the help of both their hands.

The raccoons will use their forelimbs to grasp an object and lift it.

This is similar to how squirrels grasp nuts in their hands to break open the kernels.

The hands of raccoons often play a crucial role in helping the creature solve problems and get them out of danger, especially when living in drains.

As raccoons are scavengers, their hands can help them gather food, climb fences, and get into garbage dumps to find food.

3. Monkeys

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Monkeys, like most primates, have hands, and these are primarily used to grasp the branches of trees.

You will often find monkeys swinging from the branches of trees with the help of their hands.

What sets a monkey’s hand apart from that of other animals is the existence of opposable thumbs.

Primates developed opposable thumbs to help them grasp the branches of trees. But as humans evolved, so did our hands and our thumbs.

The hands of monkeys are different from humans. We can grasp and manipulate objects with our hands, like holding a pen or swinging a bat.

But monkeys cannot carry out these functions, although their hands resemble ours externally.

The skeletal and muscular system of the hands of monkeys does not allow such fine movements.

Instead, you will find that their hands are primarily used for grasping branches, grooming, and holding food.

4. Kangaroos

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The forelimbs of kangaroos are shaped like hands as these have five fingers which are pretty similar to us humans.

However, if you observe the forelimbs of kangaroos closely, you will find that these are pretty small compared to their hind limbs and much less powerful.

The hops of a kangaroo depend entirely on its hind limbs and tail.

Its forelimbs which are shaped like hands are primarily used for grooming. For example, they will use the claws in their forelimbs or hands to brush their coat.

This helps them keep cool by improving blood circulation.

Sometimes kangaroos also use their hands to hold food and for self-defense.

The claws on the hands of a kangaroo can be pretty sharp and dangerous, and the creature is known to use them to ward off predators.

5. Possums

mountain possum hands 15052022

Possums are unique creatures, and they are one of the few mammals that have hands with four fingers and opposable thumbs.

Possums are excellent climbers, and they need to use their hands to climb trees.

But unlike other creatures, the hands of possums are not the forelimbs of the creature; instead, it is their back paws.

It uses the back paws, which are shaped like hands, to climb trees.

Each finger on the hand of the possum has a non-retractable fingernail giving the paw a hand-like appearance.

You will usually find possums hanging from trees using these hind limbs or hand-like paws. Only when their hands get tired, do they hang using their tails.

6. Beavers

beaver hands 15052022

Beavers are semi-aquatic mammals with webbed feet, which makes swimming more effortless, and forelimbs shaped like hands.

If you have ever observed a beaver on the bank of a stream or a river, you will find that it often uses its forelimbs or hands to lift objects or to manipulate these in a particular direction.

The shape of the hands of a beaver and the fingers on the hands give it the ability to use objects with deftness.

Beavers live on the stems and twigs on trees like cottonwood, aspen, birch, and willow.

The hands of a beaver make it easier for the creature to hold and eat the twigs.

7. Koalas

koala hanging from tree branch 150052022

Koalas are gentle marsupials found in Australia. You must have seen pictures of the creature clinging to trees with the help of their forelimbs and hind limbs.

Their forelimbs are shaped like hands, and they have two opposable thumbs in their hands.

This makes it easier for them to hang onto the tree and gives them a better ability to grip the branches.

In addition, the hands of the koalas have rough pads, which also make it easier for them to grasp the branches.

What makes the hands of koalas all the more unique is that they also have fingerprints similar to humans.

Sources:
https://northernwoodlands.org/outside_story/article/raccoons-hands.
https://www.discoverwildlife.com/animal-facts/mammals/how-many-legs-does-a-kangaroo-have/.
https://www.beaversolutions.com/beaver-facts-education/beaver-behavior-and-biology/.

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