10 Fish That Can Walk On Land (With Images)

Image of fish that can walk on land

Fish swimming in the water is common. But have you ever wondered about fish that can walk on land?

Fish that can walk on land are:

  1. Mudskippers,
  2. Snakehead Fish,
  3. Walking Catfish,
  4. Garnai,
  5. Bichir,
  6. Shortnose Batfish,
  7. Climbing Gourami,
  8. Mangrove Rivulus,
  9. Epaulette Shark, and
  10. Cave Angel Fish.

Let’s now learn more about these fish that have mastered the art of walking on land.

10 Fish Species That Can Walk On Land

Some fish species don’t depend completely on the water for survival. Instead, they can breathe air and walk on land.

Following are the fish that can emerge from the water and walk on land.

1. Mudskipper


When we think of fish that can walk on land, the first fish that comes to mind is Mudskipper.

This fish is found in the Indo-Pacific, from Africa to Polynesia and Australia.

Mudskippers are amphibious fish who have adapted to spend most of their time on land.

They have adapted pectoral fins and shoulder joints to move, see, and breathe on land.

Mudskippers have fins located at the front of their body and positioned beneath.

These fins allow them to get a better grip while walking on land.

Moreover, Mudskippers are also efficient in climbing trees.

For this, they use their pelvic fins and can jump up to 2 feet.

Not only have these fish have adapted to walk on land, but they can also mate and eat while on land.

In addition, they breathe air when on land with the air that’s trapped in their gill chambers and skin.

Another distinctive feature of Mudskippers is that they can blink eyes while no other fish can.

2. Snakehead Fish

Snakehead Fish
Snakehead Fish

Snakehead fish are members of the freshwater family Channidae and are native to parts of Africa and Asia.

They have evolved to walk on land.

These fish propel themselves forward on land by moving their head and back in opposite directions.

Unlike other walking fish, Snakehead fish don’t use their fins to walk on land.

Thanks to their respiratory system, these fish can survive on land by breathing air with a specialized chamber next to their gills.

Snakehead fish are carnivores and mainly consume frogs, small fish, insects, and crustaceans.

3. Walking Catfish

Walking Catfish
Walking Catfish

Walking Catfish are native to Southeast Asia and are found in freshwater, brackish water, and terrestrial environments.

As the name suggests, they can move well on land.

They are brown or grey in color and often live in ditches or canals.

They are omnivores and feed on eggs and larvae of other fish, small insects and crustaceans, and plant matter.

These fish move from one water body to another in search of food or a better environment.

They change their habitat by wiggling across the land.

Instead of scales, Walking Catfish have elongated bodies covered with slippery mucus.

This protects their skin when they are on land. Besides, they have a unique gill structure that helps them breathe air while on land.

Also, these fish use their pectoral fins to stay upright and wriggle across the land like snakes.

They usually come on land during wet weather.

4. Garnai

Check out how Garnai look over here.

Garnai is another fish species that can walk on land. They usually live in the oceans.

These fish consume small fish, microscopic organisms, and plants in their natural habitat.

One thing that sets Garnai fish apart from other walking fish is that they can fly.

They use their fins to propel them through the water.

They also have a long tail which helps them balance while walking on land.

Garnai fish are found in rivers, lakes, ponds, swamps, and marshes.

The most common type of Garnai fish is the American Walking Catfish.

5. Bichir


Bichirs are of the genus Polypterus native to western and central Africa’s freshwater lake and river systems.

They are elongated fish with a series of dorsal finlets that vary in number.

The body shape of Bichirs is similar to the first tetrapods.

These fish have gills as well as lungs that enable them to survive outside water.

They can stay out of water for hours, provided their skin stays moist.

Bichirs walk on land by propelling themselves with their fins and tails. However, they walk clumsily.

Since these fish can walk on land, scientists have experimented on the Senegal Bichir species to determine the consequences of being raised on land.

The study noted that there were structural changes as well as improved mobility.

6. Shortnose Batfish

Shortnose Batfish
Shortnose Batfish

Shortnose Batfish are native to the Caribbean.

These fish walk slowly while hunting for prey. Although they can walk, Shortnose Batfish don’t walk often.

They mainly consume small crabs and fish. And when predators attack them, these fish prefer to swim away.

These fish are not easily visible as they are found in specific areas where divers usually don’t frequent.

7. Climbing Gourami

Climbing Gourami
Climbing Gourami

Climbing Gouramis, also known as Climbing Perches, is a family of ray-finned fish within the order Anabantiformes.

They possess a labyrinth breathing organ next to their gills to breathe atmospheric oxygen from the water’s surface.

While on land, these fish push themselves across the land using their tail and fins.

They can walk short distances on land to find other suitable water bodies when the conditions become unfavorable.

8. Mangrove Rivulus

Check out how Mangrove Rivulus look over here.

Mangrove Rivulus, also known as Mangrove Killifish, is a species of Killifish belonging to the family Rivulidae.

They are slender and mainly feed on small worms and insects in their natural environment.

Besides, these fish are amphibious, meaning they can survive on land and water.

Mangrove Rivulus fish have been found flipping and slithering across the land during the rainy season to reach water pools.

They flip on land with the help of their tails.

Besides, these fish can jump on land. While jumping, they do a tail flip.

They flip their head over the body toward the tail end.

9. Epaulette Shark

Epaulette Shark
Epaulette Shark

Epaulette Sharks belong to the family Hemiscylliidae and are found in Australia’s tropical waters and New Guinea’s shores.

One of the interesting features of Epaulette Sharks is that they can walk on land and along the seafloor for short distances.

This enables them to move back to water when they get stranded on land due to the tide moving out.

Epaulette Sharks uses their pectoral and pelvic fins as legs and feet while walking on land.

Their movement resembles a salamander-like walking gait.

Epaulette Sharks live in shallow waters where swimming is difficult.

Hence, they have adapted to walk on the sand and rocks by using their muscular pectoral fins.

These fish are hardy and can survive on very little oxygen for up to an hour.

They can even tolerate increased temperatures while foraging in tidal pools and reef flats.

Epaulette Sharks are bottom feeders and feed on small fish, worms, and benthic crustaceans.

10. Cave Angel Fish

Check out how Cave Angel Fish look over here.

Cave Angel Fish is yet another fish capable of walking on land.

These blind fish are also known as Cryptotora Thamicola.

These fish were first observed walking on rocks in Thailand.

According to a research, Cave Angel Fish have adapted to walking for surviving the fast-flowing cave streams.

Walking enables them to grip the rocky streambeds while moving between habitats.

They even climb up waterfalls during the dry seasons when the water level fluctuates.

Moreover, these fish even change their habitat to reach streams that are rich in oxygen.


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