What are the requirements for mass distribution and body positioning that would enable a large creature (say, a panther) to walk on water (and still be able to dive down and swim if it wanted?) This should extend to hunting (chasing fish on the surface and then diving through the water to catch it) to walking to even sleeping on water. The mechanics should be so that there are minimum ripples in the surface of the water, the creature can walk naturally and quietly, and so that the creature can twist itself so it falls into the water. The creature would be held aloft by

  • Water tension and mass distribution
  • And water magic that would keep the water beneath the paws liquid but tensile, ensuring that the creature could both walk and swim. And it should be able to walk without any technology or foot covering: just on its bare paws/hooves/etc. Update: Thank you for your answers everyone! You were all extremely helpful. I'll use: Big paws, powerful muscles, mass distribution . . . and magic.
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    $\begingroup$ What should keep animal's legs from sinking? Magic? $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Apr 12 '18 at 16:41
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    $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%A9my_Bricka, just have them make really good shoes. $\endgroup$ Apr 12 '18 at 16:43
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    $\begingroup$ As soon as you invoke magic, all bets are off, because Magic Can Do Anything The Author Wants. For something that at least pays lip service to scientific plausibility, you would need to minimize "ground pressure" - that is, the ratio of creature mass to area actually in contact with the surface. $\endgroup$ Apr 12 '18 at 16:52
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    $\begingroup$ I dont think magic should be taken into account and also is water a must or can any liquid be taken as the higher the density the more the buoyancy . And also the animal must have large paw area and should have very developed leg muscles . $\endgroup$ Apr 12 '18 at 16:54
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    $\begingroup$ I see you've accepted an answer. While it is up to you whether or not to accept an answer we generally recommend that you wait at least 24 hours to do so - we have users in many time zones! Accepting an answer tends to dissuade other users from answering and you could miss out on lots of potential answers! $\endgroup$
    – bendl
    Apr 12 '18 at 19:22

Basilisk lizards can run across water by pushing water away to oppose the foce of gravity. But you want something that can walk slowly or stand still or sleep. The only nonmagic answer for something the mass of a panther is buoyancy. The feet of the animal need to occupy a space such that water displaced by these feet weighs more than the animal does.

walk on water shoes

Zoominbaloons man does not look very panthery but this dude is capable of surprisingly fast movement, or something. So too your panther. It has 4 buoyant inflated feet and it slides around on them like a skater, chasing fish, being awesome.

Inflation status of the feet is under conscious control and the creature can exhale the foot air and dive under. Once it comes up for air it can reinflate the feet and climb back up onto the surface.

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    $\begingroup$ Drat. This would render my brand-new anti-panther moat completely useless. And then I'll be overrun with panthers again. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Apr 12 '18 at 19:27

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