Natural Tripods

In which I document usage of tripods in the natural world


Emperor Penguins use tripod structures made up of their tail and feet to support them whilst standing and egg-laying.

Emperor-walk hg


Many insects utilise a tripdeal gait, alternating their six legs so three are always touching the ground. This allows them to maintain high speeds over varying terrain by always providing a solid base. ( Animal Locomotion: A. Beiwener)


Kangaroos use tripod structures extensively, both when standing and fighting, and also for locomotion.

Support whilst standing

Photo by Dellex.

Kangaroos use a tripod made up of their hind legs and tail to support them whilst standing.


Photo by SatuSuro

Kangaroos also use tripods for slow locomotion (beneath hopping speeds). Interestingly, in this context the tripod is made up of a different combination of limbs: the tail and the forelimbs.


Whilst watching a TV programme about Kangaroos, I realised that I couldn’t think of any other animals which used tripod structures. This struck me as strange, as the tripod is a useful structure, and I couldn’t find any research done into natural tripods, so I decided to start documenting it myself.