Gait Of Animals

Table of Contents

Animals crawl, fly, slither, swim, creep or walk to move from one place to another. Animal locomotion is a result of limbs being used in a certain way. Different animals have adapted to different modes of movement. This movement enables animals to lead an active lifestyle, obtain food, search for mates and even for respiration.


  • The body of an earthworm is made up of many rings joined in an end-to-end manner
  • It is able to expand and shorten its body because of the presence of muscles
  • It extends its front portion first while the rear portion is at rest, fixes its front portion firmly then releases the rear portion to extend it forward while shortening its body, thereby covering small distances
  • Repeated muscle contractions and relaxations enable the movement of earthworms in the soil. It is further aided by the secretion of a slimy substance
  • It is able to fix its body parts to the ground because of the presence of small bristles called setae, projecting out of its body which is connected to the muscles. They help earthworms to get a grip on the ground


  • A snail carries a hard outer covering called a shell. It is made of calcium carbonate
  • The shell is dragged by the snail, and it does not help in their locomotion
  • Shell has an opening through which the body and head project out. The body is made up of muscles and is the foot of the snail. Shells protect snails from their predators
  • They move in a wavy motion
  • They propel by riding on a layer of mucus, through muscle contractions of the foot
  • It secretes mucus which enables swift movement


  • They walk, climb, fly and prefer to live in damp but warm places
  • They have three pairs of legs which help in walking and are covered by a hard exoskeleton
  • The outer skeleton is made up of a series of plates which enables its movement
  • They have distinct muscles, walking is brought about by the muscles near the legs
  • The flying of a cockroach is aided by the muscle movement of the wings
  • Their body is divided into three regions- head, thorax and abdomen
  • Each leg consists of five segments
  • They have two pairs of wings which are poorly developed but still manage to fly. The wings are formed as a result of outgrowths of integuments


  • Birds can walk and fly
  • Some birds can swim too. Example: Swans, Ducks
  • Birds are able to fly as their bones are hollow and light and are called pneumatic bones
  • Bones of forelimbs enable flying as they are modified into wings
  • Bones in hind limbs help in perching and walking
  • They possess strong shoulder bones
  • Pectorals or breast muscles are large powerful muscles that help the birds to fly


  • The body of the fish resembles the shape of a boat. It is called streamlined shape
  • The body tapers down at both ends, the head and tail are comparatively smaller than the mid part of the body, hence we say their body is streamlined
  • This shape allows water to glide over them thus enabling swift and efficient movement
  • Fishes have a skeleton which is covered with muscles
  • As fish swim, muscles at the upper part of the body glide to the other side and the lower part oscillates in the opposite direction and then quickly reverses this movement hence forming a curvy motion in the water. It results in a push and jerk making it move ahead which is aided by the fins of the tail
  • Other fins provide balance and maintain direction while a fish swims


  • They have thin muscles and a long backbone. These muscles are connected though they are at a distance
  • Snakes use serpentine motion to move. They pull their body into bends and then straighten them out, propelling the animal forward. Also, the snakes use the underside of their stomach to grip the surface, therefore, snakes find it hard to move on smooth glass.

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Related links: Difference Between Locomotion And Movement

Frequently Asked Questions on Gait Of Animals


How do centipedes move?

Centipedes have numerous legs. By coordinated movement of these legs, they can move up to the speed of 1.3 fps.


How does the jellyfish move?

Jellyfish propel the water by contracting and relaxing the ring of muscles around the bell. This type of movement draws the water in and forces it outside thus forcing the organism to move forward.


How do seahorses move?

The seahorses adjust the volume of air in their swim bladders to move up and down.  They move forward by using their dorsal fins.

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