A quadruped creature, similar in size to a small cow has found its niche in shallow freshwaters in a tropical climate.

What type of feet would be suitable for this environment? I speculate that the major issue here is that heavier creatures can sink and get stuck in the mud.

The creature is an omnivore, mainly feeding by grazing alongside the occasional fish.

The only animal I have found with feet adjusted to muddy environments is the tapir but I would like to know if there exists others like it.


3 Answers 3


Water buffalo feet

Boring answer: cow feet, basically.

Water buffalo are real life cow-like quadrupeds who like shallow fresh water in tropical climates. They have no problem with mud. They kinda like it. Hippos are another obvious example, and their family tree might also provide inspiration.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Primitive whales had hoofs too. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Willk the family tree link covers exactly that ;-) $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 18:14
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hippos are an interesting idea I had not thought of that, though some reading seem to suggest the animals special bouancy seem to play a large role in why they navigate water with such ease. Water buffalo hooves are really interesting (if somewhat strange looking). I pondered cow hooves before but they seemed ill-suited before I saw this adaptation $\endgroup$
    – Johan
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 18:37

60% Hippopotamus, 40% Elephant

Please do make your own, but just for consideration...

The hippo spends considerable time both in water and on land, water a little more than the elephant.

While the hippo swims in water more, it does need to crawl on those muddy freshwater shorelines everytime it gets in or out.

Elephants often congregate around mud, so they also qualify for consideration.

Elephant feet have a large base while hippos have a semi-rounded base with toes. Shrink your toes by 40% and add a little cartilage to the back of the heel to flexibly square it off and there you go, at least for believablility.


I could see something similar to alligator or crocodile feet, or at least pose-able in a way that it can help them climb in/out of the water and mud efficiently. Obviously, they don't have to eat meat or be reptilian to have similar feet like this, it's just what comes to mind.



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