How do animals move?

How do animals move?

When interacting with their surroundings, animals tend to adapt their physiology and behaviour to get the most out of and adapt as efficiently as possible to that environment. In this context, the type of displacement they undertake is vital to ensure better adaptation and greater chances of survival.


Classification of animals according to their movement

The movement of animals is directly related and conditioned by the environment in which they live. Thus, it is really surprising to see how the anatomical and movement characteristics of each animal species on the planet were influenced by biological evolution that allows species to adapt as best as possible to their habitats.

Thus, when classifying animals according to their displacement type, it is useful to group these types of displacement according to the type of habitat in which they live, distinguishing between:

  • Land animals
  • Aquatic animals
  • aerial or flying animals

We will see in the next sections what characteristics these groups of animals have depending on how they move and what examples of species we can find in each of them.

How do land animals move?

As we can imagine, terrestrial animals inhabit those regions of the continent of the planet, in which they coexist with all types of terrestrial plants to which they also adapted their movements to move better with each other.

Thus, among the main types of displacement that we can distinguish between land animals, we find:

  • Moving Crawling Animals: Without limbs, these animals move by crawling all over their bodies. The group of animals most characteristic of this type of movement is, without a doubt, the reptiles.
  • Animals that move on foot: the vast majority of land animals move on foot, mainly on the four limbs, commonly called legs. Other animals, such as primates, a group to which we humans belong, the movement is performed with the lower extremities, while the upper ones intervene only a few times.
  • Animals that Climb to Move: When climbing, animals have hands and feet that grip, as well as sucker-shaped structures and even long tails that they can curl to move along the branches of trees in the habitats in which they live. Mammals such as primates and rodents, as well as reptiles and amphibians, are able to move about climbing.
  • Animals that jump when they move: the curious movement through jumping can only be performed by animals that have strong and agile lower limbs, necessary for the impulse to jump. In this group, amphibians stand out and, among mammals, kangaroos, which also have a large tail that allows them to maintain balance during the jump. Find out how far a kangaroo can jump in this other article.

How do aquatic animals move?

The movement that allows aquatic animals to move is swimming. Understanding how fish move using their fins to propel themselves and their tails as rudders that control the lateral movement of the movement allows this type of movement to be attributed to other groups of swimming animals as well. For example, mammals of the cetacean family, as well as beavers, platypus and otters, spend most of their lives in aquatic environments, moving with the help of their tail and limb membranes for more efficient swimming. But amphibians, reptiles and even birds are also capable of swimming. Just observe the skill with which penguins, seagulls and ducks swim when obtaining their food in aquatic environments.

How do flying animals move?

When we think of flying animals, the birds But what other animals are capable of moving in the air? So make a wide variety of insects and even some mammals like bats.

Depending on the group of animals to which they belong, flying animals have a different anatomical structure adapted to flight. In the case of birds, they have forelimbs with feathers adapted to flight, as well as aerodynamic and light anatomy of the rest of the body that allows them to remain suspended in the air and even hunt at high speed when descending from higher heights. . In addition, their tails, also with feathers, work as a rudder to facilitate lateral movements. On the other hand, the upper extremities of flying mammals (belonging to the group of Chiroptera), have membranes and bones that give them the appearance of wings, designed to move in flight when quickly flapped.


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