animals that walk on two legs

There are millions of different animal species on the planet, and almost every animal has some way to move through life. From animals without legs to animals with a couple of hundred legs.

In this article, we are going to talk about 15 animals that walk on two legs.

The form of moving on two legs is known as bipedalism. When translated from Latin, the term biped means ‘two feet’.

There are three different types of bipedalism. Including walking, running, and hopping.

Some of the animals that we are going to talk about do not walk on two legs strictly. Instead, they mainly use all four legs to move around but essentially have the ability to walk on two legs.

Let’s dive right in!

15 Animals that walk on two legs

Flamingos

flamingo walking

Flamingos are long-legged shorebirds commonly found in swamps and mudflats of America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The “Flamingo” name comes from Portuguese, which means “flame-colored”.

Even though flamingos have the ability to fly, more often than not, they are seen walking on the ground.

Fun Fact: Flamingos are born grey, and the familiar pink color comes from their diet!

Sometimes flamingos would stand on one leg for hours, and no one is quite sure what is the reason behind it.

Though one theory stands out the most, which claims that flamingos stand on one leg to conserve more body heat.

Kangaroos

bipedal kangaroo

Kangaroos are large foot hopping bipedal animals native to Australia and New Guinea. There are four different kangaroo species, of which the red kangaroos are the largest.

The kangaroo’s strong legs are the main tools for moving through the wilderness. In fact, kangaroos are the largest to use hopping as the main type of locomotion.

Fun Fact: Kangaroos use their strong tail as a fifth leg!

Even though kangaroos have four limbs, the front two are rarely used for walking. Their forelimbs are not as strong, and they are sometimes used only for slow crawling or walking on all four.

These marsupials are extremely athletic animals, and they can hop pretty fast and far, still, they are unable to walk backwards.

Emus

emu bipedal bird

Emus are two-legged flightless birds that inhabit the mainland of Australia. These powerful bipedal animals are the second-largest bird species, right after their relative, the ostriches.

The legs of the emus are so strong. To put it simply, their legs are powerful enough to break down metal fencing.

Fun Fact: Emus are the only birds on the planet with calf muscles!

Usually, when walking, emus take strides of around 3 ft. (91 cm). However, while running, one stride of an emu can be more than 9 ft. (274cm) long.

These birds also use their legs as self-defense when attacked. One leg kick can lead to deadly consequences. Hence, not many predators target fully-grown emus.

Related Article: Animals Without Ears!

Gibbons

gibbon walking on two legs

Gibbons are pretty unique apes that live in tropical and subtropical forests of Asia.

They mainly move by swinging through the trees, and they can travel at great speeds of 34 miles per hour (54 kilometers per hour). (source)

Fun Fact: Gibbons are the fastest and the most agile of all tree-living mammals!

However, gibbons are very good at walking on two legs. Not only they can walk on the ground, but also they can walk over super thin branches with ease.

When these animals walk, they usually raise their arms above their heads to maintain balance.

Ostriches

ostriches two leg bird

Ostriches are the tallest and the heaviest living birds in the world. These two-legged animals can grow up to 9ft. (2.7 m) and run as fast as 43 miles per hour (70 kilometers per hour).

Today, there are two common ostriches species, the common ostrich and the Somali ostrich.

Fun Fact: Ostriches eggs are the largest of any living birds, weighing 3.5 pounds (1600 grams)!

Due to their flight inability, ostriches rely on their two legs and long necks to survive in the wild.

When in danger, ostriches use their powerful legs as weapons, capable of killing predators like lions. Ostriches mostly inhabit the savannas of Africa and some parts of Australia.

Gorillas

knuckle-walking gorilla

Gorillas are strong and bulky great apes that live in the tropical forests of Africa. There are two main species of gorillas and both species with two more subspecies.

Gorillas mainly move around by knock-walking, however, sometimes they walk on two legs. Usually when carrying their babies or food, or in the case when they are in a defensive stance.

Fun Fact: Gorillas and humans share around 98% of DNA!

These smart animals tend to live in big groups, sometimes counting more than 30 individuals. Those groups are called mobs, in which usually the strongest adult male is the leader of the mob.

Wallabies

bipedal wallaby

Wallabies are small bipedal macropods that are closely related to kangaroos. Besides similar appearance, wallabies also have strong hind legs that they use as the main way of locomotion.

Also, their muscular legs are not only used for traveling but also for kicking any potential enemy.

Fun Fact: Female wallabies can become fertile only a few days after giving birth!

There are eight different wallaby species, the majority of them living in Australia and New Guinea. Their favorite forests are the ones they can find thick skin leaves plants, like eucalyptus or acacia.

Bears

bear standing on two legs

Bears usually do not walk on two legs for long distances. When they are on their hind legs, the bears are then either looking for food from the trees or observing their surroundings.

There are eight different types of bears, and they can be found on almost every continent in the world, inhabiting jungles, forests, deserts, and grasslands.

Fun Fact: Bears have super developed senses of smell, and they can smell food from few miles away!

Because of their shy and peaceful character, many people see bears as cute animals. But despite their sweet appearance, bears are one of the most dangerous animals in the world.

Chimpanzees

chimpanzee that walk on two legs

Besides being closely related to humans, chimpanzees are considered among the smartest animals species in the world.

Chimps have evolved with adaptation for both arboreal and terrestrial locomotion. When walking on the ground, the great apes move on all four (knuckle-walking) as well as upright walk on two legs.

Fun Fact: Chimps have displayed many signs of intelligence, from remembering symbols, tool use to language!

Chimpanzees are very adaptable animals, and they live in a variety of different environments. Some of them include dry savannas, rainforests, montane forests, and open woodlands, among many other habitats.

Jerboas

jerboa bipedal animal

Jerboas are tiny hopping bipedal animals that mainly live in hot deserts. These miniature kangaroos have long strong legs and fairly undeveloped forelegs.

Jerboas also have long tails, almost double the length of their bodies, and it is used to balance when hopping.

Fun Fact: Jerboas can survive temperature environments of over 130 degrees Fahrenheit!

Because of their quickness and frequent changes of directions, jerboas are pretty hard to catch. This comes in handy, considering the fact that they have more than a few predators.

Pangolins

pangolin on two legs

Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, and are found in sub-Saharan parts of Africa. These strange-looking creatures usually travel on all four.

However, when moving faster, they walk on two legs with the support of their tail.

Fun Fact: Pangolins are known to be the most trafficked mammals on the planet!

When threatened, pangolins would roll up in a ball, covering themselves with their sharp armor-like scales.

Penguins

penguin waddle on two legs

When we talk about animals that walk on two legs, we must not forget penguins. These partially bipedal birds have quite funny walks, and there’s a scientific explanation for that.

Penguins do not actually walk, but instead, they waddle. The reason why they primarily waddle is it helps them save their energy.

Fun Fact: Penguins are considered among the most streamlined animals species!

Penguins are flightless birds, but they have evolved into super-efficient swimmers. They spend more than 75% of their time in the water.

Kangaroo Rats

kangaroo rat on two legs

Kangaroo rats, as their name suggests, are small rats that hop like kangaroos. These small desert rodents have long and strong legs and relatively small and useless front legs.

Fun Fact: Despite living in deserts, kangaroo rats can live without the need to drink water!

These bipedal rats are mainly found in arid parts of North America. Their powerful legs help them move around quickly and jump over high distances if needed.

When chased by predators, kangaroo rats can leap up to 9ft. (2.7m).

Green Basilisk Lizards

lizard that run on two legs

Green basilisk, also known as Jesus Christ lizard, is a long-tail lizard native to Central America. This unique nickname is due to their super ability. They can run on water!

Fun Fact: Green basilisk lizards can stay underwater for more than 30 minutes!

Basilisk lizards usually move on all four. However, when they run on water, they only use their hind legs to sprint.

Most of their time, these lizards are in trees. Unless they get threatened; in that case, they drop themselves in the water.

Humans

humans walk on two legs

Lastly, when covering the topic about animals that walk on two legs, humans are a must mention. Not only do we have the ability to walk on two legs, but we can also run and jump.

Bipedal locomotion is the most efficient way of walking by being able to maximize the use of our hands.

Fun Fact: An average person walks more than 65,000 miles – equivalent to walking three times around the planet!

Humans are the most advanced creatures on the planet, covering almost every corner of the world.

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