Created By: EdnaWalker on March 20, 2010

Tailfin Walking

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One trope that people fall into when portraying fish characters and even cetacean (whale, dolphin, and porpoise) characters in cartoons is to have them walk on their tailfins (or tail flukes if a cetacean) when on land. This makes about as much sense as a cow with a prehensile tail, but it's easier to show a fish walking on its tailfins than on its pelvic fins.


  • The fish in Shark Tale sometimes walk on their tailfins, but they stay in the water the whole time.
    • This is adverted with the shark characters, however.
  • Adverted with the fish in The Little Mermaid except during the "Under the Sea" song where they walk on their own tailfins underwater.

Live Action TV
  • Implied to be done by the "land shark" that showed up in early seasons of Saturday Night Live.

Real Life
  • This trope occurs in water in a standard training routine in shows with trained dolphins.

Western Animation
  • Kenny and the other fish characters in Kenny the Shark walk on their tailfins on land.
  • In a Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode, the dolphins who took over the earth walked on their tail flukes when on land.
  • In the Dr. Blowhole episode of The Penguins of Madagascar, the main antagonist, Dr Blowhole stands on his tail flukes and moves around on a scooter.
  • Jabberjaw
  • De Patoe-Freleng's Misterjaw
  • Averted in Madagascar 2: the shark that follows Morty onto the beach, through the jungle
and into a volcano doesn't walk, it just lunges forwards repeatedly.

Part of the Animated Trope and Animal Tropes trope indexes, and a subtrope to the Feather Fingers trope.

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