Tripedalism (from the Latin tri = three + ped = foot) is locomotion by the use of three legs. There are no known species where three legs are standard, although the movement of some macropods such as kangaroos, which can alternate between resting their weight on their muscular tails and their two hind legs, may be an example of tripedal locomotion in animals. There are also the tripod fish. Several species of these fish rest on the ocean bottom on two rays from its two pelvic fins and one ray from its caudal fin ().
Quadrupedal amputees and mutations
There are however some three-legged creatures in the world today, namely four-legged animals (such as pet dogs and cats) who have had one limb amputated. With proper medical treatment most of these injured animals can go on to live fairly normal lives, despite being artificially tripedal. There are also cases of mutations or birth abnormalities in animals (including humans) which have resulted in three legs.
- Extraterrestrial life
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Illustrated research essay Three-Legged Animals in Mythology and Folklore.