When you think of animals with webbed feet, the first creature that will cross your mind will be ducks.
But how I was mistaken! When I told a friend who is also a zoologist that only ducks and birds that can swim have webbed feet, she laughed and told me that I was mistaken and that I should rectify it the next day when I went to class.
Being a second-grader teacher, I told this with absolute confidence to my students, only to have myself corrected by an expert.
She told me that several other animals have webbed feet, and not all of them are birds that can swim. Some of them are reptiles and while others are mammals.
In this article, we will discuss eleven animals that have triangular webbed feet that are used to propel them through the water.
Animals that have webbed feet:
List of animals with webbed feet:
Puffins are excellent swimmers, and they are unique sea diving birds. You can easily distinguish this bird by its distinctive orange beak.
Puffins have unique webbed feet, which they use as rudders.
Since the birds are excellent swimmers, they would also use their wings to help them swim.
But their feet act like rudders helping them direct their movement when they are in the water.
Puffins are also excellent hunters, and their primary diet is fresh fish.
When these birds spot a shoal of fish, they can quickly dive into the water and catch their prey.
As puffins can stay underwater for twenty to thirty seconds, the rudder, like the movement of their feet, is crucial to help them catch the fish and maneuver around underwater.
Seagulls are often found inland, but they are also located near water bodies like rivers, seas, lakes, and marshy lands.
If you have observed the feet of seagulls, you will notice that they, too, have webbed feet.
This means there is a thin membrane between the toes of the feet which greatly helps when underwater.
The seagulls swim using three methods known as wing-propulsion, foot-propulsion, and plunge-diving.
As is evident from the name, wing-propulsion means when the bird uses its wings to swim.
But in the case of foot propulsion, the seagulls use their webbed feet to move forward.
Here the webbing of the feet becomes essential because it gives extra surface area for the bird to move forward in the water.
Cormorants are beautiful dark-colored birds with long, thin, pointy bills and webbed feet.
These birds are also excellent divers and are known to hunt for fish.
If you have ever seen a cormorant dive down to hunt for a fish, it is one of the most beautiful sights.
A cormorant will have webbing between all four of its toes.
The webbed feet of cormorants give the bird the necessary surface area to swim in the water.
The legs of cormorants are pretty short, which makes it necessary for the bird to catch fish.
While swimming, their webbed feet help the bird move in a particular direction to catch fish easily.
The legs and the webbed feet of cormorants are all black, lending the bird its unique shade and appearance.
Flamingos are the birds you see standing for hours on a single foot.
This unique bird has an unusual diet of mollusks, shrimps, crustaceans, and other bottom-dwelling creatures.
Now the bird will sometimes need to stir up the mud to bring the creatures up to consume and the best way to do it is with the help of its webbed feet.
You will find that flamingos have tissue between the toes of their feet.
Therefore, the bird’s webbed feet make it easier to stir the mud and force the bottom-dwelling creatures up.
Moreover, the webbed feet of the flamingos are helpful in swimming. As the birds spend most of the time in the water, the webbed feet can help the birds swim quickly.
It took me quite by surprise to discover that beavers have webbed feet.
But the large hind feet of beavers are meant for swimming, while the front limbs of the creature are meant to simplify movement on land.
Beavers can move with ease on land, but the webbed feet of beavers can make moving in water easier for the creatures.
Therefore instead of fur on their toes, they have tissue connecting their toes to their webbed feet.
The beavers are known for building dams on streams and other similar water bodies, which can even change the stream’s course.
Therefore, these creatures spend a long time in the water.
Otters are carnivorous mammals that belong to the weasel family. This creature spends a good part of its life in water and is known to be an excellent swimmer.
You will find that otters have waterproof fur and webbed feet to make it easier for the creature to swim underwater.
The tail and the webbed feet of the otter also act like rudders providing the creature with the ability to maneuver around while swimming
If you look at the feet of an otter, you will find the toes to be elongated like fingers, and there is a tissue joining the toes.
This adjoining tissue gives the feet of otters a webbed-like appearance.
These webbed feet help the otters move forward since they act like paddles.
Frogs are amphibians and excellent swimmers. You will find that webbed feet are a common evolutionary characteristic in animals that can swim.
Frogs have both webbed front limbs and hind limbs. However, the webbing between the toes of frogs is relatively thin.
The tissue adjoining the toes increases the surface area, making it easier for the frog to swim.
If you have ever observed a frog swim, you will find that it swims with quick darting movements.
The webbing allows the frog to push the water back and propel itself forward.
Pelicans are large water birds that can be easily distinguished by their unique beaks.
You can identify the birds by their pouches along with their beaks and another thing that sets the bird apart from other birds is its distinctive webbed feet.
The bird often scoops up the fish along with the water.
When it does so, the bird usually swims in water, and its webbed feet can help direct it toward a shoal of fish.
The webbed feet of pelicans give the birds the added strength to swim fast in the water and since pelicans are giant birds, they have significantly high appetites.
Thus, they need to swim fast toward large shoals of fish to capture these.
Toucans are found in rainforests, and these are birds with significantly wide wingspans.
You will find that toucans have webbed feet, making it easier for the birds to move from one part of a tree to another.
When you think of toucans, the one thing that will strike you about their webbed feet is their ability to walk on water when the rainforest gets flooded during the rainy season.
You will find that the bird’s webbed feet allow the creature to walk on water and catch fish.
Toucans also have two pointed toes that allow the creature to get a better grip on the trees.
But the rest of the toes are webbed, allowing the bird to move quickly on the branches of the trees and water.
Iguanas are excellent swimmers, and you will find that the creature can swim with the help of their powerful tails and webbed feet.
Their webbed feet allow them to paddle through the water with ease.
The tail of an iguana acts like a rudder giving direction to the creature’s movement.
Thus, when you look at the feet of an iguana, you will find a tissue joining the toes that give it a webbed appearance.
The webbed feet ensure that the creature can swim fast as it increases the surface area, and you will find that iguanas are quite efficient swimmers.
When you look at a loon’s feet while they’re swimming, you will find that they have powerful webbed feet.
The loon’s webbed feet help them swim swiftly and move ahead in the water.
The movement of loons in water is similar to that of ducks and other water birds.
The unique trait of the webbed feet of loons is that when it comes to the creature propelling underwater, it is the webbed feet that help the bird move forward.
Loons are excellent divers and you will find that the bird can stay underwater for some time, and to propel the bird forward, a certain amount of force is required.