Just as foolish as it must look to a crab when it sees a man walk forward.

GEORG CRISTOPH LICHTENBERG (1742-99)

Gait

What's in a Gait? 


Giraffes and camels have a distinctive pacing gait in which they move both legs on the same side of the body at the same time (both right legs, then both left legs). Horses and cows move differently: they walk by moving their legs in the order 'left hind leg, left front, right hind, right front', in a regular 1-2-3-4 beat). When they trot they move their legs in unison in diagonal pairs. When horses canter, at one stage the horse's body is supported by a single rear leg which propels the horse forward. When a horse gallops, all four feet leave the floor at once. A giraffe's gallop involves both back legs swinging in front of the front legs on each stride.
 
Some horses have been bred with modified gaits. Icelandic horses have an ‘extra’ gait called the tölt, a sort of amble used to cover long distances at speed. In the Ozark Hills of Missouri they had a similar need for a horse that would be comfortable to ride over long distances on rocky ground, so they developed the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse, whose distinguishing characteristic is the Fox Trot gait; the horse walks with the front feet and trots with the hind, and can maintain this for long distances.
 
There has been much argument as to whether or not elephants run. According to the classical definition of running - that all feet are off the floor at once - they do not, but John Hutchinson of Stanford University has studied the question in detail and concluded that they have a biomechanical 'running' gait without all four feet leaving the ground.

Elephants have evolved an efficient way of moving that capitalises on the low-impact benefits of walking and also the spring-like step of a run; when the researchers tracked how the hip and shoulder joints moved at fast speeds, they found patterns more like running than walking.

LEWIS CARROLL (1832-98)

'Will you walk a little faster?' said a whiting to a snail,
'There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's treading on my tail.'

Octopuses use their arms to crawl or swim. Some species use two arms to 'walk'.

Animal Locomotion


Greyhounds can hit a top speed of 45mph, thanks in part to their use of the 'double suspension gallop', when all four of their feet are off the ground simultaneously at two points in the stride – fully extended and fully contracted.
 
There are a number of odd gaits under the sea. The aptly named psychedelic fish, which was only discovered in 2009, moves by a miniature jet propulsion system and seems to bounce on the sea floor. Other fish such as tripod fish and frog-fish actually walk along the sea floor.
 
The first man to systematically study animal locomotion was called Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904). He was the first man to photograph a horse galloping, thus proving that it had all four feet off the ground at one time. He eventually came up with a huge number of prints, not just of horses, but of the locomotion of any number of animals as well as humans. His 1887 work Animal Locomotion consisted of over 2,000 photographs including some controversial series of photos such as 'amputee walking with crutches', and 'legless boy climbing in and out of a chair'.

Muybridge was no stranger to controversy: he murdered a love-rival in cold blood and was the first murderer to plead insanity in the history of the US.
 

The way kangaroos move is called 'saltation', meaning they jump with both feet at the same time.

RUDYARD KIPLING (1856-1936)

The Cat. He walked by himself, and all places were alike to him.

Common centipedes can crawl backwards almost as quickly as they can crawl forwards.

Lunting is walking at the same time as pipe-smoking.

There is only one recorded case of 'walking the plank'.