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Animals Without Front Legs

Updated on November 11, 2016

This Bernard Kobel photograph shows a colt born without front legs posed in what seems to be a custom-made trolley with wheels that may have given him some degree of mobility. This horse belonged to Marietta Drak of Sedalia, Mo and probably dates from the 1950s or 60s.

I have been unable to find and information about this image that appears to be of a two-legged foal balancing unsupported on its hind legs.

This media photograph shows a foal born in Italy in 1954. The owner's intention was to sell the foal to a sideshow.

This Bernard Kobel photo shows a bull calf born with no front legs shown in an unsupported bipedal stance.

This female calf belonged to SD Hewws of Redding, CA.


Other specimens lacking front legs have been preserved through taxidermy. These are sometimes mistaken for bad taxidermy rather then correctly preserved specimens of unusual animals.

The Condition

Animals of many species are occasionally born without front legs. At this point I have not been able to determine what causes this condition. It is sometimes attributed to inbreeding.

The only treatment is to create a supportive prosthesis. 3D printing has been used for small animals. However many animals adapt to moving in a bipedal stance, as first noted by anatomist Everhad Slijner in 1942 in the case of a goat.

Modern Examples




  • Soliman, Youssef, Allison H. Feibus, and Neil Baum. "3D Printing and Its Urologic Applications." Reviews in Urology 17, no. 1 (2015): 20.Soliman, Youssef, Allison H. Feibus, and Neil Baum. "3D Printing and Its Urologic Applications." Reviews in Urology 17, no. 1 (2015): 20.
  • Taylor, Peter J. "Biology as Politics: The Direct and Indirect Effects of Lewontin and Levins." Science as Culture 19, no. 2 (2010): 241-253.


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    • profile image

      Jess 2 years ago

      The second picture shows a colt from 1914, from the stone barn castle in ny. He lived for 4 years.

    • Highland Terrier profile image

      Highland Terrier 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Nature is very cruel. The sooner we can control it the better.

      Every living creature is made to suffer deformities and chronic illness.

    • shalycriston profile image

      Shaly Criston 5 years ago from USA

      Yo! It's interesting, Voted up :)