The animal kingdom is filled with weird and wonderful creatures that each have their own unique features that help them survive out in the wild. But what about animals with no legs? How can these creatures move around and survive without important appendages?
Animals With No Legs
There are several different species of animals with no legs, with many of them found in the ocean. However, there are more than a few types of land animals that have no legs. Despite having no legs, the animals listed below have adapted to not only survive but to thrive in their environment.
1. Sea Lions
Sea lions have flippers instead of legs, which they use to swim underwater and navigate on land. These flippers are at the front of their body, behind their forelimbs, and are webbed. Unfortunately, there are less than 20,000 sea lions left and experts state they are close to extinction. Thankfully, sea lions are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act.
Like sea lions, walruses have webbed flippers instead of legs. While they do use these flippers to get around on land, they cannot stand up on them. It can, however, use its flippers to thrust its large body, which can weigh around 2,200 pounds, forward.
Some people assume that, since seals are similar in many ways to walruses and sea lions, they also don’t have any legs and instead have flippers. The truth is that seals do have four limbs; two arm bones and two leg bones. These bones, however, are contained within the seal’s skin, and only their hands and feet extend outside their body.
3. Legless Lizard
Legless lizards refers to various different groups of lizards that have evolved to the point of not needing legs. The glass lizard, for example, is a legless lizard found throughout North America, North Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Despite their name, there are some species of legless lizards that do have legs. However, these legs are rather useless to the animal, since they don’t aid in their mobility.
Also known as legless amphibians, caecilians are in the same group as frogs but they have no legs or arms, which makes them look more like a snake or a worm. It can be hard to tell which end of the caecilians is its head and which is its tail.
Caecilians are native to neotropical and tropical areas, and can be found in South America, Central America, Southeast Asia, and Central Africa. Most caecilians species spend their time in shallow streams or underground, and can reach lengths of more than 5 feet.
Snails don’t have legs, but they do have a muscular ventral foot located at the bottom of their body. This “foot” creates a muscular contraction, while also producing a mucus that glides the snail across the surface. There are about 43,000 different species of snails found in the sea, land, and even in freshwater.
Not only do earthworms not have legs, but they don’t have arms or any other limbs. Instead, they use their muscles to stretch and contract, which gives them the ability to move. Microscopic bristles cover their long bodies and help the worms grip onto surfaces.
Earthworms can be found in almost all temperate soils and even some tropical soils. The largest earthworm is the Microchaetus rappi, which is native to South Africa, and can reach 21 feet in length when extended naturally.
Fish have fins instead of legs, which they use to steer and stay upright in the water. While most of us are aware of this, did you know that there are some species of fish that have leg-like limbs that help them move? Examples of this are axolotls, mudfish, and garnai.
Octopuses are famous for having tentacles instead of legs. But did you know that these “tentacles” are actually arms and not legs? According to Discovery.com, tentacles are longer than arms and only have suckers at the end. Arms, however, are stronger and shorter with suckers all along them.
Whales don’t have legs, but that wasn’t always the case. The ancestors of these large sea creatures actually lived on land and had four legs. This was, however, over 50 million years ago, and over the past several million years, whales have undergone a dramatic evolutionary change.
The largest whale is the blue whale, and it is actually the biggest animal on the planet. This massive sea creature can reach lengths of up to 98 feet and weigh up to 400,000 pounds.
The sea is full of interesting creatures, and the clam is one of them. This legless mollusk has two shells that it uses to create a suction, which allows it to move throughout the ocean.
Clams are found in both freshwater and seawater, and the largest species is known as the giant clam. The giant clam can reach lengths of more than 4 feet, and can even live for 100 years or more.
Sponges don’t have legs, nor do they have arms. What they do have is a body covered in channels and pores, which act as a filter that allows the creature to get nutrients from the water. There are around 5,000 different species of sponges, with most of them found in the ocean, but there are some found in freshwater.
Like snails, slugs don’t have legs and instead use a muscle found on the bottom of their body to move around. Slugs are found throughout the world. On average, there are about 200 slugs per every 35 cubic foot of soil.
The ash-black slug is considered the largest slug, reaching over 7 inches long. They are found in ancient woodlands and feed on algae, fungi, and lichens.
Jellyfish don’t have legs, but they do have tentacles that trail behind them and sting prey. The amount of tentacles a jellyfish has varies depending on the species. Some have 4 to 8 tentacles, while others have hundreds.
There are over 2,000 different species of jellyfish and none of them have legs. The largest jellyfish species is the lion’s mane jellyfish. In 1865, the largest lion’s mane jellyfish was reported off of Massachusetts’ coast and measured 7 feet in diameter with tentacles that were about 120 feet long.
With over 3,000 species of snakes, you are sure to have seen these legless animals at least once or twice in your lifetime. They are found all over the world, except for Ireland, New Zealand, Antarctica, Greenland, and Iceland. They vary in size, color, and pattern, but none of them have legs.
Like whales, the ancestors of dolphins did have legs that they used to walk on land. Throughout millions of years of evolution, however, dolphins lost these legs and became purely marine animals.
These extremely intelligent marine mammals are often portrayed as helpful and friendly in pop culture, and for good reason. There have been several stories in recent years of dolphins saving people lost at sea.
But that’s not all. In 2004, a pod of dolphins saved four swimmers from a great white shark by swimming around the people until they could swim to safety.