I'm designing creatures on my made up planet where animals evolved exceptional hearing and I'm wondering what kind of feet they might evolve to produce the least amount of sound when walking to avoid predators. For some more context I imagined how life would evolve on a planet around a red dwarf with low luminosity. This made plant life extremely competitive to gain as much sunlight as possible with one species eventually evolving to nearly cover the entire sky with their leaves blocking out the little sunlight the animals had. Due to this animals have to mostly feed off fungi and dead leaves on a rocky environment with big tall tree like plants here and there. So prey and predator had to rely on sound to detect each other so I'm wondering.

What kind of feet would they evolve to reduce noise in a rocky/dirt environment?

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    – L.Dutch
    Commented Aug 6, 2022 at 13:28

3 Answers 3


Cats and owls are prime examples of "silence".

Both cats and owls are nocturnal hunters with adaptations to move silently. Cats have toe beans (digital pads) which act as cushions, absorbing the sound of any footstep. Cats go completely unnoticed, even when walking on gravel. Owls have special fluffy feathers on the tips on their wings which serve a similar purpose: they absorb sound. Owls can swoop down on their prey with essentially zero sound. Even their wingbeats are silent.

Here's a video about owls to demonstrate: link here

Conclusion: soft paws and fuzzy fur.

And if these two examples aren't alien enough for you, you can always use the world's quietest room as reference: link here


Elephants usually move very silently on their padded feet.

Excited, angry, or frightened elephants may vocalize loudly and crush bushes and animals in their way and knock over trees as they speed walk.

But elephants normally walk slowly, carefully, and quietly. So if an elephant wants to sneak away from, or toward, another creature, they usually can.

For example, in 2014 some tourists were seated watching wildlife at a reserve in Africa when the staff had a very large tamed elephant sneak up behind the oblivious tourists for a great photobomb.


Obviously a wild elephant who had bad experiences with humans and was hunting down and killing humans could have snuck up behind those tourists to attack just as easily.


Deer have hooves but very small feet. They are not completely silent, but often move pretty stealthily.

For SciFi, one strategy would be to take this to an evolutionary extreme, basically dime-sized horned feet with a stubbled contact surface to minimize ground contact.

There are cliff-side goats (climbers) that have evolved padded 'soft' hooves, that give them amazing grip on a sheer cliff face.

So padded hooves, for silence, are very much within the realm of scientific evolution realism.

So is the mental strategy of some other animals; unlike us blundering humans, they don't walk blind: Like the cliff-side goats, they don't move without planning their steps. It is an evolved instinct. Many four legged animals do this, even dogs (if their morphology permits): their rear feet tend to land in or close to the footprints of their front feet; because the front legs have already tested the stability of the ground there. So that would also help with silence, if their mind is involved in finding silent steps for their front feet; even subconsciously.


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