|Raccoon, Orlando Florida (4/11)|
Raccoons are called "plantigrade" because they walk on their entire foot -- heel, sole and toes. This usually sounds strange to many people because they just never thought of walking any other way. But many familiar animals do it very differently. Dogs, cats and birds walk on their toes and the balls of their feet ("digitigrade") and animals like deer, antelopes and pigs are "unguligrade", meaning they walk on their tippy toes (making hooves really just very cool toe nails). Digitigrade and unguligrade animals are really built more for speed than plantigrade animals.
The word plantigrade comes from the fact that the sole of the foot is called the plantar region. There are warts that people can get on the soles of their feet, I often hear them referred to as "planter's warts", thinking that they have something to do with the way the foot strikes the shovel. In fact, they are called "plantar warts" due to their location on the foot.
Ok! I have to run to the conference! SInce I am built to walk, I need to leave plenty of time...