Animal Flow is a workout designed to help people become stronger, more mobile, and more flexible. Its movements mimic those of the natural mobility of animals, which we can imitate to be more like them. If you’re studying animal flexibility, though, you might wonder which animals are the most flexible?
And although the octopus is probably the most flexible animal that lives, what are the most flexible land animals?
In this article, we’ll talk about flexible animals. We’ll look at what special abilities their flexibility provides and what makes them unique. So what animals are the most flexible? Let’s find out.
Of course, we have to mention the octopus as one of the most flexible animals. The University of Chicago did an in-depth study on octopi, and found they can bend, twist, stretch, shorten, and move their eight soft limbs all around. If you think about it, an octopus is probably the most flexible animal that exists! So it’s no wonder they’re at the top of the list. But there are plenty of other interesting animals that are flexible, too!
Weasels are clever, flexible, cute, and really really vicious. But unfortunately, they are often portrayed as blood-thirsty murderers for the way they kill more prey than they actually can eat and then and stash their carnage for later.
Farmers have long feuded with weasels since chickens are easy prey, too. And because weasels are so flexible, they can easily slip into the coop and wipe out an entire flock in one visit, stashing the leftovers for a future meal.
Weasels may look cute, but they are well-honed hunting machines. They love small rodents and chickens for their dinner. And thanks to their flexible bodies, they can chase them down fast! A weasel has short, sturdy limbs and a long flexible body and neck. As a result, they can easily squeeze their way through tiny holes and small spaces, according to a-z-animals.com.
Millipedes aren’t insects at all but invertebrates. They range in size from less than an inch to up to five inches long. Their long bodies are segmented, which makes them very flexible. And each segment of their body has two pairs of legs. Their flexibility is for their own protection.
When a millipede is scared or threatened, it will curl up into a tight coil to protect its soft undersides. It depends on the hard exoskeleton on its back to protect it. Some millipedes can emit a toxic substance that is harmful to small animals. It generally doesn’t affect humans, but it could irritate the skin.
Surprisingly, a millipede also curls up into a tight coil when it dies. You can find more information about millipedes here.
An owl’s eyes are fixed straight ahead because they cannot turn them, move them, or roll them. Instead of moving their eyes, owls move their necks! Surprisingly, owls can turn their heads 270 degrees to the left and 270 degrees to the right. They can also turn their heads upside down without moving the rest of their body.
Owls have enlarged blood vessels near the brain, which help to make sure blood flow to the brain isn’t compromised when an owl turns or bends its head. Owls also have extra large holes through their vertebrae so that the blood vessels have plenty of room. The holes make sure the vessels don’t get pinched or broken when the owl turns its head so far. Visit LiveScience to learn more.
The Hero Shrew
The hero shrew is a unique animal that’s been studied by National Geographic for its exceptionally strong and supple spine. It is thought that the hero shrews’ spines are so strong and flexible that they can be stepped on without breaking. These flexible spines may have developed to help them pry apart palm leaves to find bugs for their dinner. The spines of hero shrews have many tiny, fingerlike appendages that make the spine long and flexible. But when it wants to, it can lock together the appendages to make the spine exceptionally strong.
Not much is known about how the hero shrew evolved because these small, timid animals are hard to study in their native environment. But what we do know is that they are both flexible and strong for their tiny size!
I was always amazed by my friend’s pet ferrets, as they would roll, bend, twist, and stretch in all kinds of ways. They seemed like an ever-moving ball of fluff that twisted and turned all over the place! How can ferrets be so flexible?
According to PetKeen.com, ferrets have spines that can stretch out long and thin and ribs that are collapsible, which means they can turn and bend in all kinds of interesting ways. This trait helps them to hunt rabbits and rats through tiny tunnels at high speeds.
The flexibility of a ferret gives it a remarkable ability to do a fast U-turn even in a tight, tiny tunnel. You can watch ferrets play and even purchase ferret playgrounds that provide them with the opportunity to show off just how flexible they really are!
If you are trying to keep rats out of your home (or safely inside of a cage), you’ll want to consider eliminating any hole smaller than ½ by ½ inches. Holes larger than that tiny size can allow juvenile rats and even adult rats to find their way through. You certainly don’t want rats finding their way into your home or out of their enclosure.
Rats have long, cylindrical bodies that allow them to squeeze through tiny holes and burrows.
And although they are incredibly flexible and fast, they don’t have collapsible skeletons, according to Ratbehavior.org. Instead, their whiskers help them to know just how small of a hole they can squeeze through. If their whiskers can fit, so can they! They can squeeze their long bodies into all kinds of cracks and crevices, so make sure your home is secure.
You’ve probably seen a plethora of pictures on the internet of cats. Cats curled up in a ball, cats stretched out, cats sleeping in all kinds of crazy ways. The internet just loves pictures of cats! And cats are very flexible, making for some highly entertaining pics!
Cats skeletons are different from people’s in a number of ways. They have a more rudimentary collarbone, which means they can squeeze their shoulders into smaller spaces. Additionally, their shoulder blades attach to their bodies differently, and their spines are able to twist in a much more dramatic fashion, too. This kind of flexibility means that cats can flip, spin, twist, and run up to 30 mph as they bend and flex their spine.
A cat uses its whiskers to know how small of a space it can squeeze into, and very rarely do they get stuck because their flexible spines allow them to turn and squeeze their way right back out.
Gardeners love earthworms for the health and nutrients they bring to the soil. They’re able to burrow through the ground because they’re so flexible! According to asknature.org, earthworms have a hydrostatic skeleton. To put it more simply, they have a flexible skeleton filled with fluid. The worm is segmented, and each segment is independent. The fluid inside the earthworms prevents them from being crushed by the soil it is burrowing through.
This flexibility helps the worm digest decomposing matter and leave behind worm castings, which gardeners use as fertilizer.
My pet hedgehog was a master of flexibility. Whenever he discovered a new food, he would chew it, then turn his head and spit it out onto his back. I loved feeding him new foods just to watch him stretch and bend to turn his head facing his back. He was a flexible little guy!
Of course, when frightened, he could curl up tight into a tiny little ball, showing off how flexible his little back truly is. When a hedgehog is relaxed, his spines lay flat, and he looks long and stretched out. But when he curls up into a protective ball, his spines will stand straight up so the sharp points can protect him. Hedgehogs, it seems, use their flexibility for protection.
We’ve all seen snakes bend and twist and curl up into all kinds of shapes. But they’re flexible in all kinds of ways! First of all, snakes have a long flexible spine. But was is really surprising is that they have hundreds of ribs running all the way down their spine to the tail. These ribs are so flexible to let them bend and twist.
But snakes also have flexible jaws! And according to DK Find Out, those loosely hinged jaws help them swallow pretty that is much bigger than they are. And the flexible ribs help it swallow its prey, too. A snake’s ribs aren’t joined at the front like human ribs. Instead, they are open, which gives them more room to stretch apart to fit their next meal.
Remember, some snakes can be dangerous, so you’ll want to admire their flexibility from a distance.
Otters are related to weasels and have a similar body shape: long bodies, short legs, and thick fur. Of course, they’re cute, but they’re also totally flexible. They use their long powerful bodies to manoeuvre in the water to hunt their prey. They can turn on a dime! According to the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, they love to play in the water and the snow! And they are so flexible, they can touch their noses to their tails.
We don’t usually think of large land animals as being flexible, but the largest land animal actually is! Elephants have incredibly flexible trunks. An elephant’s trunk is like an extra long upper lip and nose with all kinds of jobs to do. The elephant’s trunk gets its flexibility and strength from the 100,000 tendons and muscles inside of it.
It uses its trunk to smell, reach up high for food, drink, or even spray water on its back. Underwater, the elephant can use its trunk for breathing like a snorkel hose. This muscular appendage can bend and twist in all kinds of directions.
You can find out more about this flexible animal on seaworld.org.
Foxes have a terrible reputation for being crafty and sly. But they’re amazing animals for their speed, intelligence, grit, and flexibility.
According to Mental Floss, foxes can run up to 42 mph! They can also jump fences and climb trees. But, surprisingly, they are also flexible enough to squeeze through tiny spaces – especially the fence surrounding my chicken pen.
Foxes are so flexible that they can fit through small fences and chicken coop holes to find their next meal.
Daniel Browning Smith
Although he isn’t actually an animal, he is a mammal and a flexible one, at that! Daniel Browning Smith holds the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most flexible man. According to news18.com, he can rotate his torso 180 degrees! While most people aren’t as flexible as Daniel, he’s an excellent example of how flexible some humans can be!