Skip to main content

Handedness in Animals

iStock

Does left-handedness (or footedness, etc.) exist in other animals?

—Dick A., San Francisco, Calif.

Nope, and neither does right-handedness, for that matter. No strong parallel to inborn human “handedness” exists in other animals. A few weak parallels may be found, such as parrots that often use their left foot to grab a piece of food or toads that use a right foot to wipe off their faces. Each individual animal, such as your dog or cat, may develop a preference for one paw over another for a particular task, but neither chosen side strongly dominates the way the one inborn side does in humans. The developed preferences are divided roughly evenly between the right and left sides.

(scroll to keep reading)

Related Stories

More Like This