12 Cool Animals That Crawl (Crawl Speed & Pictures)

Hold on tight because we’re about to explore the world of crawling animals! 

They might not be as flashy as their flying or swimming counterparts, but these critters have a super cool way of movement.

So, buckle up and get ready to laugh, cringe, and marvel at the amazing animals that crawl. 

Trust me, by the end of this post; you’ll be crawling with excitement!

List of Animals That Crawl

  • Land Snails
  • Snakes
  • Land turtles
  • Crocodiles
  • Komodo dragons
  • Caterpillars
  • Alligators
  • Sloths
  • Banana slugs
  • Iguanas
  • Geckos
  • Earthworms

1. Land Snails

animals that crawl

  • Class: Gastropoda
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Crawl Speed: 0.04 in/sec (1 mm/sec)

With over 35,000 species adapted to live on the ground, land snails are practically everywhere!

But what makes crawling creatures so special? Well, land snails have extremely muscular feet which allows them to crawl over rough surfaces and keep their bodies moist while doing so. 

And if you’ve ever watched a snail crawl on the glass of a window, you’ve probably noticed the mesmerizing display of their muscles in action.

Interestingly, in a recent experiment, researchers tracked the gliding of a snail for one night, and the results were jaw-dropping. The little fella managed to crawl over an entire garden’s length in just one night! 

Fun Fact: Snails can crawl on sharp objects without getting injured!

2. Snakes

animals that crawl

  • Class: Reptile
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Crawl Speed: 8 mph (12.7 kph)

Being legless animals, snakes rely on their incredible flexibility to get around. And boy, can they move in some seriously impressive ways!

Snakes typically crawl in S-shaped movements, using their surroundings to propel themselves forward. But did you know there are actually four different types of locomotion that snakes commonly use? 

That’s right, these slithery creatures are like acrobats of the animal kingdom, with moves like:

  • Lateral undulation
  • Sidewinding
  • Concertina
  • Arboreal

Using their muscles and spine, they can crawl, swim, and even climb with ease. And don’t let their lack of legs fool you – some snakes can crawl at incredibly fast speeds.

The black mamba, for instance, is one of the fastest snakes in the world and can reach speeds of up to 23 km/h!

Fun Fact: More than one million people in the world own snakes as pets!

3. Land Turtles

animals that crawl

  • Class: Reptile
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Crawl Speed: 0.1 – 0.3 mph (0.2 – 0.5 kph)

These shelled wonders can be found on every continent except for Antarctica, and they come in all sizes, from tiny to enormous.

Yet, what’s unique for all of them, regardless of size, is their slow-moving, terrestrial nature. These creatures are the ultimate crawlers, taking their time to explore their surroundings at a leisurely pace.

But why do tortoises move so slowly? Well, it all comes down to evolution. 

Being herbivores with a slow metabolism, land turtles don’t need to move quickly to survive. 

They don’t hunt other animals, and their hard shells protect them from most predators. In fact, their shells are so effective that they never had to evolve into fast-moving animals.

Fun Fact: The oldest known turtle lived 255 years!

4. Crocodiles

animals that crawl

  • Class: Reptile
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Crawl Speed: 15 – 22 mph (24 – 35 kph)

One of the most common ways crocodiles move on land is through a technique called belly crawling. 

The motion is similar to a snake’s crawl, with a graceful swishing from side to side.

But that’s not all – crocodiles are also capable of high-walking and galloping for faster movements on land. These movements are not as common as belly crawling but are used when they need to cover more ground.

Related: Animals That Gallop

When it comes to speed, crocodiles may not win any land speed records, but one shouldn’t underestimate their quickness! These fearsome creatures can move at a surprising pace.

While crocodiles may not have the best stamina on land, they more than make up for it with their explosive abilities.

Fun Fact: Crocodiles are related to dinosaurs, and they are the biggest reptiles on the planet Earth!

5. Komodo Dragons

animals that crawl

  • Class: Reptile
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Crawl Speed: 12 mph (19 kph)

Another crawling reptile, the Komodo dragon, uses a sprawling gait similar to that of a crocodile. This means that its legs are splayed out to the sides, allowing its body to move forward in a series of powerful lunges. 

Despite their seemingly sluggish gait, these lizards are capable of running at high speeds.

When hunting for prey, Komodo dragons often utilize a stealthy approach, ambushing their target from a hidden vantage point. Once within close range, the dragon will make a swift dash, aiming directly for the prey’s vulnerable throat.

Remarkably, these reptiles not only possess impressive speed but also have the ability to climb trees utilizing their powerful claws.

Fun Fact: Komodo dragons are venomous animals!

6. Caterpillars

animals that crawl

  • Class: Insect
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Crawl Speed: 1 mph (1.6 kph)

While they are best known for their ability to go through a metamorphosis, caterpillars are also interesting because of their crawling skills.

Namely, this animal without bones moves by squeezing its muscles in a wave-like motion. 

They arch their bodies, gripping the surface with their many legs, and move forward in a fluid motion. Interestingly, some caterpillars have specialized hooks on their legs that help them climb up vertical surfaces.

Also, despite their slow-crawl locomotion, caterpillars employ different kinds of defensive tactics against enemies. Some caterpillars camouflage themselves, others have fake eyes to scare off birds, and some even become venomous by eating poisonous plants.

Fun Fact: The average lifespan of the caterpillar is two to four weeks!

7. Alligators

animals that crawl

  • Class: Reptile
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Crawl Speed: 11 mph (18 kph)

Alligators are giant reptilian predators native to Mexico, China, and the United States.

Similar to crocodiles, alligators have two distinct types of locomotion. The sprawl crawl and the high walk.

The sprawl crawl is a type of movement in which the belly makes contact with the ground. On the other side, the high walk is a type of walk where the belly is elevated above the ground, and all four limbs are utilized to propel the animal forward.

Despite the fact alligators can run quickly in short bursts, they rarely hunt on land. Most alligators are ambush predators, meaning they don’t chase their prey; instead, they patiently wait for the perfect moment to attack.

Fun Fact: Alligators continuously grow throughout their lifetime!

Related Article: Animals That Hop to Move

8. Sloths

animals that crawl

  • Class: Mammal
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Crawl Speed: 5 ft/min (1.5 met/min)

The next on our list is probably the laziest creature out there – the sloth. 

Sloths crawl in a slow and clumsy fashion, and while their sharp claws are advantageous for grasping branches, they are of little use on the ground.

To make things even worse, sloths can’t support their weight on their hind legs. Hence, when on land, they resort to dragging themselves forward using their forelimbs. 

Not the most graceful sight, that’s for sure.

And when they find themselves on the ground, sloths crawl only a few feet per minute.

As a result, they are vulnerable to various predators when they’re on the ground. So, they try to move as “quickly” as possible up on trees.

What’s interesting is that sloths move three times faster in the water than crawling on the ground. Maybe they should switch to swimming!

Fun Fact: Sloths are three times stronger than humans!

9. Banana Slugs

animals that crawl

  • Class: Gastropoda
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Crawl Speed: 6 in/min (15 cm/min)

Banana slugs move by contracting and expanding their muscular foot (not human-like). 

They produce a layer of (secret) mucus that helps them glide along surfaces – it’s a super unique secret that acts as both an adhesive and lubricant. (source)

In fact, this mucus is used for communication, nutrition, and also as a tool for protection against predators.

To move forward, the banana slug extends its foot and attaches it to a surface using its mucus. It then contracts its muscles, pulling its body forward. 

Despite their pretty special locomotion, banana slugs are slow-moving crawlers. Actually, it can take up to a minute to move only a few inches. 

However, banana slugs can travel long distances and climb up trees and other vertical surfaces using their mucus to stick to the surface.

Fun Fact: Banana slugs are edible, but they taste poor!

10. Iguanas

animals that crawl

  • Class: Reptile
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Crawl Speed: 21 mph (34 kph)

Iguanas are reptiles, and, like most reptiles, they move using a crawling motion.

When crawling, an iguana shifts its head from side to side, lifting the body off the ground with each step. 

It also has a long tail that, besides for protection, is used to assist in balance while the animal moves around.

Iguanas, in addition to crawling, are excellent climbers, using their long claws to hold trees and rocks. They can hold their breath underwater for up to 30 minutes, and they are also outstanding swimmers.

Fun Fact: Iguanas have a third eye on their head, also known as the parietal eye!

11. Geckos

animals that crawl

  • Class: Reptile
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Crawl Speed: 6 mph (10 kph)

Geckos are very well known for their ability to climb on vertical and inverted surfaces effortlessly. This is possible because of their feet’s special structure.

Geckos have sticky pads on their toes that are made up of thousands of hair-like structures called spatulae

These pads can stick to surfaces using van der Waals forces, allowing the gecko to stick to surfaces without the need for claws or suction cups.

They are also pretty fast, considering their tiny size, traveling up to 5 miles per hour.

Fun Fact: The Asian gecko can run on the water!

12. Earthworms

animals that crawl

  • Class: Clitellata
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Crawl Speed: 27-185 ft/hour (8 – 56 met/hour)

The last members of our list of animals that crawl are earthworms. Earthworms are small, weak animals that live in the soil. 

They move by crawling through the soil, using different muscles in their body. They stretch their heads and a small part of their bodies forward and then anchor themselves with tiny bristles called setae

Then, they squeeze the muscles to lengthen and shorten their bodies in order to make a wave-like motion. It’s a very unique crawling locomotion.

Earthworms do this over and over again to move forward through the soil. It’s super slow, but it gets them where they need to go!

Fun Fact: Earthworms are hermaphrodites; each worm has both male and female organs.

Difference Between Creeping and Crawling Animals

There is a big difference between the “creeping” and “crawling” terms.

To creep means to move on two legs very slowly, quietly, and carefully, often to avoid being noticed or heard.

For example, when hunting, many predators creep as nearly as possible to their target. So, the way of movement when trying not to be noticed is described as a creep.

Crawling, in contrast, is a way of locomotion where the body of an animal is close to the ground and supported by the limbs and knees or belly.