10 Animals With Big Feet (See Pictures)

Animals With Big Feet
Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

Animals with big feet exhibit fascinating characteristics and adaptations that set them apart in the animal kingdom.

From the towering presence of kangaroos to the agile leaps of snowshoe hares, these creatures have evolved with oversized feet that serve various purposes. 

Big feet provide advantages such as enhanced speed, improved balance, efficient weight distribution, and specialized locomotion on challenging terrains like water, snow, or rough surfaces.

Whether for running, jumping, swimming, or maintaining stability, the remarkable adaptations seen in animals with big feet showcase the diversity and ingenuity of nature’s designs.

Let’s dive into the world of animals with big feet! 

1. Ostrich

by cornstaruk is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Ostrich is first on our list of animals with big feet. If you ever encounter an ostrich, you’ll be face-to-face with the largest bird on the planet.

These flightless creatures predominantly inhabit the African plains and woodlands. On average, adult ostriches weigh anywhere between 140 to 309 pounds.

What’s remarkable is that these sizable birds can sprint up to 43 miles per hour. Their impressive agility stems from their springy steps. 

Ostriches possess elastic energy stored in their tendons, allowing them to generate twice the power of a human.

Apart from their long legs, ostriches possess substantial feet that provide a comfortable grip on uneven terrain, enabling them to run with efficiency.

Let me tell you this intriguing fact: ostriches are the only birds with two toes.

The larger toe bears the weight of the bird, while the smaller toe assists in maintaining balance during their running movements.

2. Elephants

by hktang is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Elephants are also on our list of animals with big feet. As the largest land mammals on Earth, elephants can be found in Africa and Asia.

The main distinction between the two lies in size, with Asian elephants being smaller.

If you encounter an African elephant, you’ll notice that they typically weigh 6,600 to 13,000 pounds, while Asian elephants weigh around 2,000 pounds.

These creatures possess substantial feet and powerful legs to support their immense weight. An average elephant has feet measuring 15 to 19 inches in size.

Although the measurements may seem modest, the circumference of an elephant’s foot exceeds four feet, which is nearly as tall as a young child’s.

Elephants possess five-toed feet, but not all toes have nails. The nails serve the purpose of safeguarding the fatty tissues within their feet.

Furthermore, elephants’ feet are equipped with cushion pads that help distribute their massive weight.

Interestingly, elephants employ their feet as a means of communication among themselves.

They stomp on the ground. Producing vibrations that nearby family members can sense.

3. Kangaroos

by Bilby Summerhill is licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you ever encounter kangaroos, you’ll be face-to-face with giant marsupials residing in Australia, Tasmania, and nearby islands.

These remarkable creatures inhabit diverse habitats, including forests, woodlands, plains, and savannas.

Kangaroos hold the title of being the largest species in the marsupial family. Weighing up to 200 pounds and reaching towering heights of up to 8 feet.

Among all the animals on our list, kangaroos are likely the most renowned for their big feet.

They belong to the Macropod family, which translates to “big foot.”

This physical adaptation plays a crucial role in their unique mode of locomotion, as kangaroos move by hopping or bouncing.

Their exceptional physical characteristics enable them to leap as high as 30 feet.

Furthermore, kangaroos utilize their large feet as a primary defense mechanism against predators and for engaging in confrontations with other kangaroos.

Their front legs are smaller and less developed, primarily serving the purpose of grooming and cleaning.

4. Water-running Basilisk

If you ever encounter a water-running basilisk, you’ll come face-to-face with one of the unique creatures that possess the remarkable ability to walk on water.

These lizards, also known as basilisk lizards, can be found in the tropical forests of Mexico and South America.

Due to their ability to walk on water, the basilisk lizard has earned the nickname “Jesus Christ lizard.” The long toes on their rear feet make these incredible feet possible.

The toes of water-running basilisk lizards are equipped with fringes of skin that allow the water to spread out, effectively increasing the surface area of their feet once they make contact with the water.

Instead of conventional walking, basilisk lizards make a forceful slapping motion with their feet on the water.

However, their ability to walk on water is limited to a few yards before they eventually submerge underwater.

5. American Coots

American Coots
by USFWS Headquarters is licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you come across American coots, you’ll discover yet another fascinating creature with big feet.

These water birds are commonly found in large ponds, lakes, and slow-moving rivers, primarily in lower elevations.

American coots are often recognized by their distinct appearance, featuring full-black feathers and white beaks. However, when they take to the water, they resemble ordinary ducks.

Unlike many other water birds, American coots do not possess webbed feet. Instead, they have unique-toed feet that may appear unusual.

However, in contrast to the previously mentioned birds, these toed feet allow them to walk on various surfaces, including mud, grass, and ice.

American coots have four toes, with three in the front and one at the back.

6. Snowshoe Hares

Snowshoe Hares
by frostnip907 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

If you ever come across snowshoe hares, you’ll find them commonly inhabiting North America.

These animals with big feet are also known as varying hares, and they earned their snowshoe name due to their large hind feet.

These rabbits have evolved with remarkably-sized feet to prevent them from sinking into the snow while hopping, and it also grants them excellent swimming abilities.

You can’t believe that despite having such large feet, snowshoe hares are incredibly agile creatures.

They can hop at speeds of up to 27 miles per hour. Their legs and feet are also powerful, enabling them to leap as high as ten feet.

Snowshoe hares possess another fascinating adaptation—they change the color of their fur with the seasons.

As spring arrives, they shed their white fur, transitioning to brown fur. Then, as autumn approaches, their fur sheds the brown color in preparation for the growth of their white coat.

These exceptional traits play a crucial role in the survival of snowshoe hares against their predators, which include lynx and great-horned owls.

7. Emu

by shankar s. is licensed under CC BY 2.0

They share a common characteristic with their cousin, the ostrich—they are flightless birds. One of the traits commonly found in flightless birds is their large toes.

Unlike ostriches, however, emus have three toes on both feet, and each toe is equipped with a razor-sharp talon.

As large birds, emus also possess big feet that can grow up to 12 inches. Interestingly, in addition to their lengthy feet, emus boast the strongest calf muscles among all bird species.

This strength comes in handy when emus find themselves in danger. They rely on their powerful legs to kick and fend off their adversaries.

Furthermore, these mighty animals with big feet can reach up to 31 miles per hour when running.

Moreover, emus are remarkable jumpers, capable of covering a distance of seven feet with each stride.

8. Jerboas

by Sergey Yeliseev is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If you ever encounter jerboas, you’ll encounter small creatures inhabiting hot areas of North Africa, Europe, and Asia.

These rodents survive on a diet primarily composed of desert vegetation.

Despite their small size, with a height of up to 5.9 inches. Jerboas possess remarkably large feet in proportion to their bodies.

It’s no wonder they’ve earned the nickname “hopping desert rodents,” thanks to their oversized feet and long legs.

These agile animals with big feet can hop up to 10 feet, Nearly 200 times their own height.

They rely on this remarkable jumping capacity to swiftly traverse their surroundings or evade any perceived threats.

While jerboas boast powerful hind legs, their front legs may appear minuscule at first glance, seemingly serving no purpose.

However, these front legs play a vital role in maintaining balance during jumps, working in conjunction with their long tails.

9. Polar Bear

Polar Bear - Animals With Big Feet
by USFWS Headquarters is licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you ever encounter a polar bear, you should know that they are one of the largest bear species. And are highly dangerous.

These magnificent animals with big feet are native to the Arctic region and can reach heights of up to 8 feet, weighing around 990 pounds.

Despite their massive size, polar bears can swiftly charge at a speed of 25 miles per hour, all thanks to their substantial feet that provide support for their tremendous weight.

Similar to other bear species. Polar bears possess five toes on both their front and hind paws.

Their paws serve a crucial purpose as snowshoes, allowing the bears to distribute their weight evenly as they navigate through ice and snow. 

Additionally, their partially webbed feet aid in better weight distribution and are advantageous for swimming.

Polar bears possess non-retractable claws and valuable assets for running, climbing, and capturing prey.

10. Jacanas

by David Minty is licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you come across jacanas, you’ll notice that their feet appear remarkably large compared to their body size.

However, it’s actually their toes that give their feet that prominent appearance.

These unique animals with big feet can be found in swamps, shallow lakes, and lagoons, inhabiting regions in the Americas, Australia, Asia, and Africa.

Their impressive toe length, measuring up to 3 inches, sets jacanas apart. This adaptation enables them to walk on lily pads by evenly distributing their weight across the surface.

This characteristic is crucial for jacanas as they spend significant time hunting for insects and fish on the water.

Observing them from a distance, it may seem like jacanas are effortlessly walking on water, earning them the nicknames “Jesus birds” and “Lily trotters.”

When considering animals with large feet, jacanas take the prize for having the largest feet in proportion to their body size on the list.


Animals with big feet display fascinating adaptations enabling them to thrive in their habitats.

From the powerful legs of kangaroos and emus, aiding in their remarkable speed and jumping abilities, to the specialized toes of snowshoe hares and water-running basilisk lizards, facilitating movement on challenging surfaces, these creatures have evolved unique features to meet their specific needs. 

Whether it’s the water-walking abilities of basilisk lizards or the snow-traversing prowess of snowshoe hares, big feet play a crucial role in the locomotion, survival, and defense mechanisms of these diverse animals with big feet.

Their remarkable adaptations remind us of the incredible diversity and ingenuity found in the animal kingdom. Thank you! 

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