There are many things in this world that remain a mystery to us. One of these mysteries is the animals that have three toes. How did they get this way? And what purpose does it have?
Some people say that the three-toed animals are more closely related to dinosaurs than other animals, and that their toe configuration is a holdover from when they first evolved. Others believe that the third toe helps them cling to trees or climb better, allowing them to live in areas where other animals cannot survive.
No one knows for sure why these animals developed three toes or three fingers, but it is certainly an interesting phenomenon worth exploring. Let’s take a closer look at these 13 creatures and find out why having three toes is such an advantage.
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13 Unique Animals With Three Toes
In this article, we will explore 13 unusual animals with three toes and we will find out why they evolved this way. While this may seem like a small difference, it can actually make a big impact when it comes to movement and agility.
1. Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth
The brown-throated three-toed sloth is one of the most unique animals on this list. These sloths are found in Central and South America, and they are known for their slow lifestyle and three toes on each foot.
In the race for slowness, three-toed sloths are the winners: they are the slowest mammals on the planet; and this includes the Pale-throated three-toed sloth and the Maned three-toed sloth.
They are mildly heterothermic, which allows them to vary their body temperature by about 5 degrees Celsius in response to the outside temperature. By relaxing their body temperature level, they save a lot of energy.
2. Western Three-toed Skink
The western three-toes skink can be found only in three countries in the world: Portugal, Spain and the Mediterranean coast of France. It is serpentiform in appearance and has small limbs of about 4-7 mm with three toes each.
Despite its weird appearance, you must know that this animal is not venomous, it doesn’t spit and, of course, it doesn’t jump; it only eats small arthropods. If you are lucky enough to see one in the wild, the first thing it will do is run away because these animals are also very shy and fearful.
The sanderling is a small bird that is found on beaches all over the world. These birds have three toes on each foot, and they are not the only species of bird that has this feature, as we will see later. The sanderling is a common bird, and it can be found in a variety of habitats, including beaches, marshes, and estuaries.
The three toes on the sanderling’s feet give it an advantage when it comes to walking on sand. By having three toes, these birds can grip the sand more securely, which allows them to move more easily across the beach.
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The rhinoceros is a large mammal that is found in Africa and Asia. These animals have three toes on each hoof, making them an “odd-toed” mammal. The rhinoceros is a large and powerful animal, and it is one of the most dangerous animals in the world.
A rhinoceros’ feet are noticeably small in comparison to the massive amount of bodyweight they must support. Their feet have three toes and a pad that is evenly distributed. When they step, the inside of their feet receives the most pressure, and their middle toe supports their weight.
Tapirs are some of the most fascinating creatures on the planet. They’re related to horses and rhinoceroses (the three of them are perissodactyls), and they look like a cross between the two of them. They live in jungles all over Asia and South America, and they’re very good at staying hidden from predators.
Despite their shy nature, tapirs are actually very curious animals. They love to explore their surroundings, and they’re always up for a game of tag or hide-and-seek. Tapirs have four toes on each front foot and three on each hind foot, which allows them to walk on muddy and soft ground.
Tapirs are endangered animals, so it’s important that we do everything we can to protect them. Their habitats are being destroyed by deforestation, so it’s up to us to make sure that doesn’t happen.
6. Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker
The Eurasian three-toed woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker that is found in Europe and Asia. This species is closely related to the American three-toed woodpecker, which is found in North America.
The Eurasian three-toed woodpecker has black upperparts, white underparts, and a bit of yellow in the head. It has a long tail and stiffened tail feathers that are used for support while pecking into trees. This woodpecker feeds on insects that are found under the bark of trees.
Emus are large, flightless birds that are native to Australia and New Guinea. These birds can grow up to six feet tall and weigh up to 120 pounds. These animals have long necks and legs, and their feathers are black, brown, or white in color.
Emus are omnivorous animals and eat a variety of things, including insects, grasses, seeds, fruits, and small animals. They also drink water regularly. Emus cannot fly due to their large size and weight, but they can run very quickly (up to 30 miles per hour!).
The emu is the second-largest bird in the world after the ostrich. These interesting creatures are valuable as pest controllers because they eat a lot of insects.
8. Three-Toed Amphiuma
The Three-Toed Amphiuma is a large, aquatic salamander that can be found in the southeastern United States. This amphibian has three toes on each of its hind feet and a long, eel-like body. It is a carnivore that feeds on small fish, invertebrates, and other amphibians.
The Three-Toed Amphiuma is an interesting creature for several reasons. First, it is one of the largest salamanders in the world, reaching up to 3 feet in length. Second, it has three toes on each hind foot (most other salamanders have four or five toes). This adaptation gives the amphibian greater agility in the water. Finally, it has a long, eel-like body that allows it to move easily through the water column.
9. Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher
Also known as the black-backed kingfisher or three-toed kingfisher, the oriental dwarf kingfisher is a small, brightly-colored bird found in Southeast Asia. This little kingfisher has three toes on each foot and it’s also one of the smallest kingfishers in the world, measuring only about 5 inches in length.
The Oriental dwarf kingfisher feeds mainly on insects, but can also eat small fish. These birds are usually seen perched high up in trees or along the banks of streams and rivers. They are shy and difficult to see unless they are flying or perched out in the open.
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10. Northern Three-toed Jerboa
The Northern three-toed jerboa is a small rodent found in the deserts of North America and Eurasia. It is distinguished by its long tail, which is about half the length of its body, and its large ears. The Northern three-toed jerboa is a nocturnal animal, meaning that it spends most of the day asleep and only comes out at night to look for food.
The Northern three-toed jerboa has many predators, including coyotes, foxes, and snakes. To protect itself from predators, the Northern three-toed jerboa relies on its quick reflexes and its ability to jump high into the air. It can also run very quickly for short distances.
11. Pumpkin Toadlet
This is one of the smallest amphibians in the world, with a size of approximately 2 centimeters. It can be found in southeastern Brazil, more specifically in the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais.
Its bright yellow-orange color warns potential predators of the toxins released by its skin and organs. This animal usually lives among the dead leaves on the jungle floor, but can also take refuge in the crevices of trees or rocks during dry weather. As a curiosity, if you put it under ultraviolet light, you can see its skeleton!
12. Common Quail
The common quail, also known as the European quail, is the wild quail that nests in Europe and Asia and migrates in winter to Africa, Arabia and India. It grows to a length of 6 to 7 inches and weighs approximately 3.4 oz.
They have three toes, two front-facing and one back-facing, which allow them to run well and perch when necessary. They are omnivorous animals, eating a variety of insects, seeds, and other plant material. In the wild, they typically live for around 3 years.
13. Three-toed Box Turtle
The three-toed box turtle is a small, brownish turtle found in the eastern United States. They are usually about 5-6 inches long and have a shell that is about 3-4 inches wide. This animal gets its name from the three toes on each of its back legs.
The three-toed box turtle is a shy creature and will often hide when it senses danger. They can live up to 50 years in the wild, but because they are being pushed out of their natural habitats by development, they are now considered a threatened species.
We hope you were as amazed as we were with these curious three-toed animals. Do you know any others? Please share your thoughts on three-toed animals in the comments below and don’t forget to share this post if you liked it!