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Clumsy Gait

A bear maight look clumsy in our eyes but the truth is that this animals is quite nimble and fast. For a bear it takes a second to cover the distance of 10 metres. The lowest part of bear's foot has special callous that leaves one-of-a-kind print on the ground. Only a full foot print resembles that of a human. If human first toe is the biggest one, bear toes are vice versa, the first toe is the smallest. That's why a bear gait seems clumsy to us. When a bear is walking, it puts forefeet close and heels apart. When a bear is walking slowly or makes a stop, its hind feet make a print together with heels. During fast walk or running footprints of hind feet cover those of fore feet and heels are not seen.

A bear, like humans, belongs to plantigrade mammals. All terrestrial animals, depending on their ability to support themselves with a whole feet or just with  toes while walking, are divided into three groups: plantigrades, digitigrades and phalangrades. Bears belong to the first group. They have no enemies to get saved by running from. They are omnivorous and they do not need to chase a fast-running prey.

Digitigrades are majority of carnivores who have to stalk their prey or to chase it at a high speed. 

All hoofed animals belong to phalangrades as they support themselves with phalanxes while walking.

There is a separate group of digiti-plantigrades. These animals are common marten, rock marten, racoon. They walk like plantigrades but when in danger they start tiptoeing. 

Thus, animal's gait can tell us lots of interesting things about animal's way of living.