Animals You Didn't Know Can Walk on Water

While humans generally regard walking on water as some kind of miracle only performed by deities, certain animals and bugs do it all the time. Some animals that can walk on water do it to avoid predators, others to hunt their prey, and some even employ the tactic as part of their mating rituals. One mammal even appears to have learned a gravity-defying trick in captivity, only to teach it to her friends in the wild. Some use speed and surface tension, while others are simply too small to sink.

Which animals walk on water as if they think they are Jesus or a magician? Find out below!
Photo: maxstrz / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

  • Snails

    Photo: Rhodora / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Snails are small enough to remain afloat, similar to the aforementioned Brazilian pygmy gecko. How a snail moves on water, though, was once perplexing to scientists. In 2008, UCLA mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Eric Lauga told National Geographic he and a team of researchers found that a snail will create ripples with its foot, and then use the ripples to push itself across the water.

  • Mosquitos

    Photo: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    These bothersome creatures are unique in that they can both walk on walls AND on water. According to LiveScience, mosquitos have pads on their feet called setae that enable them to walk up walls or stand upside-down on the ceiling. When it comes to water, where the insects lay and hatch their eggs, mosquitos have grooves in their legs that the water, due to surface tension, has a hard time getting into. Thus, mosquitos stay dry.

  • The Gerridae

    The Gerridae
    Video: YouTube

    These bugs, also known as water striders or pond skaters, are able to use their long, spindly legs to spread out their weight, using surface tension to remain above water. Their legs are covered in water-repellent hairs. They use the middle pair to row across the water, while the back legs steer.

  • Flying Fish

    Flying Fish
    Video: YouTube

    Exocoetidae, more commonly knowing as flying fish, are all kinds of fun to spot in the wild. They are able to gain enough speed underwater to leap into the air, then glide for considerable distances. They employ this trick to escape from other animals that wish to eat them, and they themselves feed on plankton. The fish is a national symbol of Barbados, and is featured on their $1 coin. It is also a key part of the country's national dish, cou cou.

  • The Basilisk Lizard

    The Basilisk Lizard
    Video: YouTube

    Given this Central American lizard's proclivity to handily skip across water, it's also known as the Jesus lizard. According to National Geographic, the basilisk lizard can drop from a tree and then run across water at about five feet per second. It does this using its long, fringed toes that, when slapped against the water, form an air pocket to keep the scaly guy or gal upright. When these lizards eventually do fall into the water, they swim.

  • The Brazilian Pygmy Gecko

    The Brazilian Pygmy Gecko
    Video: YouTube

    These wee creatures are so tiny they could drown in even a shallow pond. As such, scientists believe the Brazilian pygmy gecko evolved to effortlessly walk on water. Life producer Simon Blakeney told the BBC, "Because they are so tiny, they are able to float on the surface of the water like a pond skater, so they don't break the surface tension. I've never seen anything like that to be honest." These lizards also have hydrophobic skin, meaning it repels water.