Claws, Hooves, and Pincers
A threatened animal with legs—two, four, or more—is most
likely to use them to escape. But if it is cornered or caught, an
animal will use its legs and feet to defend itself.
An animal with clawed toes, such as a cat or raccoon, kicks
and scratches to defend itself. It may also bite at the same time.
A kangaroo not only bites and punches with its clawed front feet, but also leans back on its tail to kick with its hind legs. Then it
slashes downward with the sharp claws on its big hind feet.
Birds, such as chickens, will claw and peck as they struggle
to escape. A large bird can also kick at its foe. An ostrich, for example,
kicks forward at its attacker. Then it slashes downward to
rake it with its sharp claws, which measure up to 4 inches (10 cm)
long. An ostrich’s kick is powerful enough to kill a lion.
Hoofed animals also kick to ward off attackers. A giraffe can
kill its only predator, the lion, with a single kick. A zebra kicks
out with its hind legs at a predator chasing it and can break its jaw
or neck. Deer kick at coyotes with their front hooves.
Many animals lack claws or hooves, but can use other appendages
to defend themselves. A lobster has large claws called
pincers that it uses to catch and crush crabs, clams, and other
prey. It also uses them to defend itself. A lobster’s pinching power
is strong enough to break a person’s finger joint. Crabs can pinch
hard enough to draw blood. insects that cannot sting will often