8 Fish That Walk on Land, Breathe Air, and Survive out of Water for 60 Days

The animal world is mysterious. It never stops to amaze us. Fish that walk on land is one example of this. These fish can even breathe air, instead of using gills. You may not believe it, but here are 8 fish that can walk on land. Let’s check them out!

1. Mudskipper

When it comes to fish that walk on land, the mudskipper is usually the top of mind. This fish locates from Africa to Polynesia and Australia in the Indo-Pacific.

Being an amphibious fish, the mudskipper spends most of its time on land, about 90%. This makes it change its behaviors, from the way it moves to the way it sees and breathes.

These walking fish have evolved ‘shoulder’ joints as well as pectoral fins. These fins are situated beneath and in front of its body, which enables the fish to walk on land with a greater grip. Mudskippers are so popular that they make gif about this fish that walk on land.

Not only mudskippers can walk on land, but they also can climb trees pretty well. To do this, they leap into the trees by using their pelvic fins. They can leap up to 2 feet in the air. Moreover, these fish that walk on land also breed and hunt prey on land.

Their vision has developed to the point that they can see clearer on land than on water. As a result, these species dance on land to grab the attention of a mate.

To breathe on land, mudskippers take oxygen via their skin and gill chambers. They can thrive in locations with little or no water because of this adaptability.

2. Epaulette Shark

The second fish that can walk on land is the epaulette shark. This species is a member of the Hemiscylliidae family and lives in Australia’s tropical waters and on the shores of New Guinea.

Epaulette sharks reside in shallow areas where swimming is challenging. To adapt to this condition, they walk on sand and stones to move. Their powerful pectoral and pelvic fins act as their legs and feet.

Their walking stride is similar to that of a salamander. Rather than swimming, they prefer to walk through sandy ground underwater.

The special thing about these fish is that they can endure harsh environments. Epaulette sharks can thrive for hours in conditions with minimal oxygen. In the laboratory where there is no oxygen, they can even survive for hours. They can even withstand high temperatures while hunting in tidal pools and on coral flats.

3. Snakehead Fish

Snakehead fish are endemic to Asia and Africa. They belong to the Channidae freshwater family. Like the other fish that walk on land on this list, snakehead fish also have that ability. However, they don’t move with their fins like mudskippers or epaulette sharks. Instead of that, they move their snake-like head and their back in opposite directions to walk on land.

This is Snakehead Fish that walk on land

To breathe on land, these predatory fish use a special respiratory system that allows them to breathe air through a specific chamber beside their gills. Thanks to this breathing system, the fish can stay on land for numerous days.

Snakehead fish are carnivorous species. They frequently hunt in schools to catch frogs, tiny fish, insects, and crustaceans.


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4. Cave Angel Fish

Another fish that can walk on land is the cave angel fish (Cryptotora Thamicola). These fish were discovered strolling on rocks in Thailand for the first time.

These species are believed to evolved to walk on land in order to withstand the quick-flowing cave streams. They can hold the rough streambeds while walking among habitats.

In the drought seasons, when the water level drops, they even climb up waterfalls. These fish also shift their habitats to look for oxygen-rich streams.

5. Bichir

Bichirs (Polypterus senegalus) is a species of Polypterus. They are commonly called the “dragon fish” or the “dinosaur eel”. These long fish live in freshwater lakes and rivers in western and central Africa.

Bichirs are fish that can walk on land. They accomplish this by propelling themselves forward with their pectoral fins and tail. They do, however, have an awkward gait.

Bichir is a type of fish that can walk on land

Thanks to a pair of lungs and gills, these creatures can live out of water for hours, even days, as long as their skin remains moist. They can use their lungs to breathe air or depend on gills to obtain oxygen from water.

6. Climbing Gourami

Next on the list of fish that walk on land is climbing gouramis. These fish, commonly known as climbing perches, are ray-finned fish belonging to the order Anabantiformes.

They are good swimmers and can stay out of water for a long time. To do this, they need help from labyrinth organ near their gills. This organ enables them to take oxygen from the surface of the water.

To move on land, climbing perches use their tail to propel themselves on the ground. Thanks to the fins and strong spines on their backs, the fish can walk around on land easily.

When the conditions become unsuitable, they can travel short distances on land to find alternative appropriate waterbodies. Although it has not been documented, there is unconfirmed information that these fish can climb trees.

7. Mangrove Rivulus

Mangrove rivulus, or mangrove killifish, is a killifish species in the family Rivulidae. Like mudskippers, these fish can live on both land and water.

In the rainy season, mangrove rivulus fish have been observed flipping and sliding across the terrain in search of water puddles. They use their tails to flip on land. They can even jump into land while doing a tail flip.

The mangrove rivulus could be the most impressive fish that walk on land on this list. They can go without water for an amazing 66 days. Most of the time, they stay in fallen logs. They can also withstand extreme temperatures and salinity.



8. Walking Catfish

The last member on the list of fish that walk on land is the walking catfish. You can find these species in freshwater, saltwater, and even on land. These species are native to Southeast Asia, like Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, etc. But they are introduced to Florida in the 1960s and now are widely distributed in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, etc.

To find food or a better place to live, these fish transfer from one body of water to another. They change their home by slithering across the ground like snakes.

In the wet weather, they go on land and use their pectoral fins to walk. And they walk pretty well, compared to a fish. The slippery mucus around their body protects their skin from getting damaged when they’re on land.

Unlike the mangrove rivulus fish, these catfish can only stay for short times outside water, about 30 hours. Their distinctive gill anatomy allows them to breathe air when on land.


Those are 8 species of fish that can walk on land. Sound unbelievable, but these fish have evolved to adapt to their environment to have a better chance to survive. If you know any other fish that can walk on land, let us know in the comment below!


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We are passionate animal enthusiasts with over a decade of experience studying animals. With a degree in zoology and conservation biology, we've contributed to various research and conservation projects. We're excited to bring you engaging content that highlights the wonders of the animal kingdom. We aim to inspire others to appreciate and protect wildlife through informative content grounded in expertise and passion. Join us as we delve into the captivating world of animals and discover the incredible stories they have to tell.

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