10 Animals With Hands (+Fun Facts)

animal hand

There are many animal species on our planet, around 8.7 million. Some of them, you know, and some of them you can’t even imagine how they look like, and their names are.

But did you ever think about animals with hands? And when we say animals with hands, we think about animals with opposable thumbs. To be exact, about animals with a pair of hands like humans. That’s a pair of hands that function similarly to our hands.

And if you are confused with the term opposable thumb, it’s a thumb that you can rotate and flex so that it touches your other fingers. It’s something so normal for us humans, as we do it every day and not even notice it. But even animals with hands can’t do that; only a few animals can.

The following is the list of animals with hands:

  • Lemurs
  • Koalas
  • Giant pandas
  • Possums
  • Opossums
  • Waxy Monkey Leaf Frog
  • Chameleons
  • Apes
  • Old World Monkeys
  • New World Monkeys

List of 10 Animals With Hands

Lemurs

The first members on our list of animals with hands are lemurs. Lemurs are unique creatures native to the island of Madagascar, and you can only find them there and on a few other smaller islands around the coast of Africa.

There are about 100 species of lemurs, and some of them can be quite tiny.

All lemurs have hands, but some scientists and the New World Monkeys say that their thumbs are pseudo-opposable, which means that the thumbs are not quite opposable. However, they can easily use their hands to grasp branches and eat their food.

Fun Fact: Lemurs are the world’s only primates to have blue eyes (besides humans).

Koalas

These cute, often referred to as lazy animals from Australia, have hands but extraordinary hands. They have two opposable thumbs. Yes, they have two thumbs on the one hand.

Does that mean that koalas are superior to all of us? Well maybe.

Their thumbs are the reason why they can climb trees so quickly and securely grasp branches. To imagine it better, the second thumb they have is instead of the little finger.

Fun Fact: Because they feed on low-calorie food, koalas sleep more than most animals (18 hours).

Read Also: Cunning Animals

Giant Pandas

Another animal that’s known for its laziness is a Giant panda. And these beautiful animals also have hands with opposable thumbs, which are called false thumbs.

It’s because their thumb is, in fact, an enlarged carpal bone. But the thumb perfectly functions as an opposed thumb, and the pandas can use it to grasp their beloved bamboo shoots.

Fun Fact: Despite feeding almost exclusively on bamboo, pandas have the digestive system of a carnivore.

Possums

Possums are marsupials found in Australia, characterized by hands that are useful for their lifestyle. Their hands have opposable thumbs, while some of them even have them on their feet.

These marsupials are used to arboreal life, and they spend most of their time above ground. They can easily climb trees, grasp branches, escape danger, and in general, make their lives in the wilderness so much easier with the help of their thumbs.

Fun Fact: Possums are immune to the venom of almost every snake that lives in their environment.

Opossums

Opossums, often confused with possums, are marsupials found in North America, Mexico, and Central America.

The opposable thumb of opossums lacks a nail or claw, unlike those found in possums, meaning it is not used as a defensive weapon.

However, the opposable thumb adaptation has two main uses: climbing trees and running fast on thin branches. These small marsupials will also use their tails for arboreal purposes, making life on trees look so easy.

Fun Fact: When facing danger, opossums play dead. However, they have no control over this defensive mechanism or how long they’ll stay in this state.

Related: Animals With Trunks

Waxy Monkey Leaf Frogs

Could you imagine a frog on our list, the list of animals with hands? Well, these frogs are called monkey frogs for a reason.

They are arboreal frogs, which means they live on the trees, and they need to have something to grasp branches with and have hands. And on those hands, they have opposable thumbs that are more than helpful.

Fun Fact: Unlike most frogs, Monkey Leaf Frogs walk instead of hopping or jumping.

Chameleons

Chameleons are known for their tiny hands, which help them to grasp branches and different terrains s as they climb around. You probably saw a chameleon on a tiny twig or a branch, and that’s possible because of the mighty hands they have.

These reptiles have five fingers separated into two sections: the medial and lateral bundles.

Fun Fact: Chameleons can move their eyes separately (in a field of 180 degrees), which means they can see a full circle around its axis.

Apes

Apes are a branch of Old World tailless primates native to Africa and Southeast Asia. They consist of gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, gibbons, and bonobos. And all of them have hands with opposable thumbs. But they are all super unique, and they even have an opposable thumb on their feet.

The hands help apes in various fields in their lives; they use them for eating, climbing trees, grasping branches, and even holding and using tools. Some of them use their hands for building shelters out of leaves.

You probably saw how one ape grooms another, and that wouldn’t be possible if they didn’t have the hands they do. And most importantly, they can easily pick fruit with the hands they have.

Fun Fact: Humans and apes have 97 percent similarities in DNA? So, it’s not that weird for them to have the same hands as us humans. 

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Old World Monkeys

In this group belong monkeys native to Asia and Africa, and there are twenty-three species of them. Some of them are baboons, grivets, and macaques. And do you know what some of them have in common? They are animals with hands and opposable thumbs.

But why did we say some of them? It’s because not every species of Old World monkeys have opposable thumbs, and there’s even a species that doesn’t have a thumb at all, a colobus monkey.

New World Monkeys

As their name suggests, these are the monkeys that are native to the Americas. Those are monkeys like capuchin, tamarin, owl monkey, night monkey, woolly monkey, saki, Yukari, and squirrel monkey. They have hands and use them for tree climbing, grasping branches, and eating.

Some researchers suggest that New World monkeys don’t have opposable thumbs but something that’s called a pseudo-opposable thumb. It means that their thumb can’t do all of the things that an opposable thumb can do.

However, if you observe any New World monkey, you will see that their little hands are quire mighty, and how they use them is excellent.

Conclusion

Now you know how vital an opposable thumb is for animals with hands. These 10 groups of animals all have hands, and some types of opposable thumbs, which helps them greatly in their everyday lives in the wild. If it wasn’t for their hands, some of these animals couldn’t undoubtedly live their lives in the way they do it now, or perhaps they would be extinct.

You also know what animals are similar to us, humans, more than you knew. And finally, now you know how essential a thumb is in general, and we hope that you’re not going to take your thumb for granted anymore.

We hope you enjoyed our article and learned something new today. At the very end, we would like to recommend you a similar article: Animals With Scales