[[quoteright:350:[[NorseMythology http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/odin_sleipnir2_op.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Odin riding Sleipnir]]

-->''Never trust something with an odd number of limbs.''\\
-- ''{{Catharsis}}''

In RealLife, the standard number of limbs for land animals other than arthropods (insects, spiders, centipedes, etc) is FOUR, including legs, arms (which anatomically are really modified forelegs), and wings (which are modified arms), but not counting head and optional tail (or for that matter, genitalia, horns, antlers, trunk, etc.). The only exceptions are losses to injury and ''usually'' harmful mutations. Any biologist will tell you that snakes and whales bear signs of evolving from four-limbed animals.

Why this is isn't entirely clear. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with six or more legs. It might be simply an accident of evolution that the current large land animals originated from a species with a four limb body plan. Evolution generally tweaks body plans much, much more often than it originates new ones. However, evidence suggests that when the first fish crawled out of the water, it did so on seven - toed feet. (In case you're wondering, they evolved to crawl while still in the water.) The fish themselves had four appendages, because two pairs of fins had previously been ideal for their needs as swimmers. On the other hand, it's possible that four represents a kind of optimum practical number for limbs -- the energy required to grow, maintain, and use additional appendages might outweigh their benefits.

Of course the fact that nature chose one standard land vertebrate body plan doesn't stop fiction writers from subverting nature's tropes. This trope may be ''exactly'' as old as dirt, for a number of documentaries have suggested that many tales of fantastic creatures could have been inspired by early humans encountering bones of prehistoric creatures and misinterpreting the evidence. For reasons that should be obvious, in modern writing, land vertebrates with five or more limbs is primarily a SpeculativeFiction trope. They're often very useful in said fiction, in combat or for grabbing.

Sometimes justified because AWizardDidIt or because there's no obvious reason why aliens would always have exactly four limbs, but trying to determine the internal anatomy of such creatures may lead to FridgeLogic. While in most cases authors HandWave such things, it doesn't stop [[SpeculativeDocumentary others]] from trying.

Note: as the subtropes get filled out with three or more examples, they can be YKTTW'd and moved into separate subtropes.

Contrast FourLeggedInsect, which provides examples of invertebrates with fewer limbs than in real life.

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!!{{Sub Trope}}s
[[index]]
* CentauroidForm
* MultiArmedAndDangerous
* MultipleTailedBeast
* SpiderLimbs
* WingedHumanoid
[[/index]]

[[foldercontrol]]

!!Multilegged Land Vertebrate
A creature, almost always a fur-covered mammal that normally has four legs, has six or more fully-formed legs for no other obvious reason than the RuleOfCool.

[[folder:Mythology]]
* The [[NorseMythology Norse God, Odin]] had an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir. Which was born from Loki ([[ShapeshiftingSquick shape-shifted into a mare at the time]]) and a giant's stallion.
* Basilisks, depending on the depiction.
* Asian dragons, being usually associated with rivers or water, almost never have wings but can have four or more legs (usually depending on how long/powerful the dragon is). For an example, see the river spirit in SpiritedAway. More rarely, Western dragons can also look like this.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The [[MegaNeko Catbus]] from ''MyNeighborTotoro''.
** Also the Kittenbus from the OVA of the same universe.
* The ''{{Pokemon}}'' Giratina has six legs when in its Altered-Form.
* The land vertebrates of ''Manga/CentaurNoNayami'' evolved from a common hexapod ancestor but turned out quite close to ours, with many species in common but six-limbed: six legged cows, dogs and horses, and about six main human sub-species, including some with wings and two {{centauroid form}}s, one extinct.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* Most of the Pandoran wildlife in ''Film/{{Avatar}}'' has six limbs: two pairs of forelimbs and one of hind. The Na'vi do not; this is explained in-universe by their evolution from the monkey-like creatures Jake sees on his first trip out which also have six limbs, but the forelimbs on each side are joined at the elbow - so, two total upper arms and four total lower arms. Presumably Na'vi arms have two parallel bone structures in them all the way down to the hands.
** This doesn't stop the WildMassGuessing that they may be an engineered species, of which this is taken as one of the signs; it's more genetically likely that their ancestry includes a pair of arms becoming vestigial and wasting away than that they joined together.
* {{Justified|Trope}} with Stitch from ''LiloAndStitch'': he is not only an alien, he's a genetic experiment as well. Also, most of the time he keeps his extra arms hidden so {{muggles}} mistake him for a dog.
* The villain, Randall, from ''WesternAnimation/MonstersInc''. He was clearly reptillian in design, but had four arms and four legs.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Treecats in ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' have six legs, as do most other native land vertebrates from Sphinx, their homeworld, including the Hexapuma and Sphinx Chipmunk.
** ditto the native vertabrates of the planet Literature/{{Safehold}} from the series of the same name.
* Creator/JackVance's ''Literature/PlanetOfAdventure'' features six legged beasts of burden.
* On ''Literature/{{Gor}}'' one of the most common animals is the sleen, often described as looking like a furred snake or lizard, which has six legs.
* Edgar Rice Burroughs' ''{{Barsoom}}'' novels had:
** 6 legs: the cat-like sorak and rat-like ulsio
** 10 legs: the elephant-like thoat, lion-like banth, and dog-like calot
** Apts: 2 arms and 4 legs
** GreenMartians: 4 Arms and 2 legs
* The novel ''Literature/GloryRoad'' by Creator/RobertAHeinlein has horse-analogues with eight legs, on an alien planet. They are used as draft animals.
* In Creator/AnneMcCaffrey's ''Freedom'' series, there are "loo-cows" that have six legs in order to constantly pound the ground at night and keep the monsters that live underground at bay.
* RaymondEFeist's RiftwarCycle had a planet where most large animals had six legs, due to taking a different evolutionary path from Earth.
* There's a six-legged cat, among other things, in ''Franchise/TheDarkTower''. These animals are called "muties", which is presumably slang for mutant. Later on it's revealed that they are indeed descended from mutated four-legged cats.
* Thallonian riding beasts in ''Literature/StarTrekNewFrontier''. Quite possibly, all Thallonian vertebrates (the Thallonians themselves aren't native to Thallon, so their four-limbed humanoid shape doesn't have to fit in).
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action Television]]
* Presumably the [[Series/BetterOffTed Octo-Chicken]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Frontiers Star Frontiers]]'' had eight-legged land whales.
* Displacer beasts in ''DungeonsAndDragons'' have six legs. And two tentacles.
** Just like in Mythology; Basilisks.
* The planets Ungavorox and Grail in ''FadingSuns'' universe are known for their six-limber fauna.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Truth In Television]]
* Scientists who were asked to imagine what an alien world would look like, and what sort of creatures might inhabit it, agreed that a six-limbed version of a common land vertebrate wouldn't be too unbelieveable.
* There have been instances of frogs being born with more or less legs than usual due to mutations; sometimes many, ''many'' more. They can't actually do anything with them, and it only really deceases their chances of survival.
* Many New World monkeys have prehensile tails that function like fifth limbs. And elephants have prehensile noses that are more powerful than many animal's limbs.
* And not to mention [[http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=8+limbed+indian+girl&docid=1078345597721&mid=D24D8858BE3062BDF684D24D8858BE3062BDF684&FORM=VIRE5 Lakshmi Tatma, the 8-limbed girl.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* One of the three playable species in ''VideoGame/{{Achron}}'' is the Vecgir. They are a species that walk on two hind legs, stand about two meters tall and have two pairs of arms.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' games have basilisks, crocolisks, and diemetradons, all of which have six legs. Very likely a nod to the necessity of a six-limbed reptile template which would eventually evolve into bog-standard fantasy dragons.
* In the sequel to ''VideoGame/CrystalQuest'', you [[SamusIsAGirl learn]] that your FlyingSaucer is piloted by a six-legged [[SpaceX Space Cow]].
* The Seekers, antagonists of ''VideoGame/AdventRising'', look somewhat like reptilian centaurs, with a two-armed humanoid torso supported by four legs. Interestingly, while their hind legs end in hooves, the forelegs have hands that are strong and dexterous enough to handle weapons; they are also seen to tuck the forelegs against their hind ones, standing upright at twice the size of any human.
* Galdon, the boss of [[HailfirePeaks DarkIce Mines]] in ''VideoGame/StarFoxAdventures'' is a six-limbed (four legs, two arms) carnivorous dinosaur with small tentacles on the sides of its head. It has a figure that falls somewhere between that of an insect and a centaur.
* Not that you can tell from their in-game portraits, but the Paranid in the ''[[VideoGame/{{X}} X-Universe]]'' series have two sets of arms.
* The Necho Cat and Frootz Cat dream eaters in ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts3D'' have three pairs of legs. Oddly, they're the only examples of the trope among their kind.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Sierks and Ratamis in ''Webcomic/TheInterstellarTeaHouse'' have six legs.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' has Appa the six-legged bison among others.
[[/folder]]

!!Four Limbs Plus Wings (not including {{Winged Humanoid}}s)
A land vertebrate is shown with either four legs or arms and legs ''in addition to'' one or more wings or the remains of wings.

[[folder:Mythology]]
* [[OurDragonsAreDifferent Western dragons]] are typically depicted as having four limbs and one pair of wings.
* Eastern dragons are sometimes presented as having as many wings as they do legs - pairs of both running all along both sides of their long serpentine bodies.
* Likewise, [[OurGryphonsAreDifferent griffins]] also usually have four limbs and a pair of wings.
** Though, again, sometimes they only have two legs. And in some older myths, the [[BizarreSexualDimorphism female has wings, and the male has enormous spikes protruding from its shoulders]].
* Pegasus, the flying horse in Greek Myth, has four limbs and a pair of wings as well.
* The peryton from the ClassicalMythology, a pegasus style animal only being a winged deer rather than a winged horse (and carnivorous, but that's another story). There's a recent tendency to portray it as a bird with a deer's head however, probably based on D&D.
* Semargl, a Slavic god, takes the form of a winged dog.
* Thai myth has a lot of fantastic mix-and-match critters, including numerous winged, six-limbed vertebrates. Among them are flying kirins, winged horses, a sort of griffin called kraisorn puksa, and even flying elephants.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The titular God-monster in ''QTheWingedSerpent'' has four legs and two wings.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Hippogriffs, Thestrals, and Dragons in ''Literature/HarryPotter''.
** Oddly enough dragons in the movie verse avert this. Their wings are part of their forelimbs.
* In [[DragonRidersOfPern The Dragonriders of Pern]], dragons are genetically engineered creatures descended from fire lizards, which also have four legs and wings but are much smaller.
** Also native to Pern are wherries, another fire-lizard-related species, which also have four legs and two wings.
** Tunnel snakes, who share a common ancestor with fire lizards and wherries, also have six limbs. In this case, instead of wings, they have three sets of legs; the front set adapted to digging. Six limbs could well be the norm for vertebrates on Pern, but thanks to Thread nearly sterilizing the planet every 250 years, there wasn't a lot of genetic diversity on the planet before humans came along and introduced Earth flora and fauna.
*** Incidentally, [[AllThereInTheManual supplemental material]] indicates that Pernese arthropods have four limbs.
* Kinshaya in the StarTrekNovelVerse. They have four legs and wings on their back. In an ancestral species, these were used for flying, but modern Kinshaya are too heavy and retain them for display purposes.
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's ConanTheBarbarian story "Literature/QueenOfTheBlackCoast", when they spot the ruins, they also spot a winged ape.
* The Borijans of JamesPHogan's ''The Immortality Option'' are an interesting take on this: their planet's vertebrates are six-limbed, but the intelligent species, the Borijans, are descended from birdlike creatures. So they have six limbs, but two are arms, two are legs, and two are vestigial wings.
* In ''Literature/TheMagiciansNephew'', a normal Earth horse winds up in Narnia and is given wings by Aslan.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* DungeonsAndDragons has dragons, winged serpents (which aren't this trope because that's two limbs total), and many others.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games]]
* Rouge from ''SonicTheHedgehog'' is a white bat with separate arms and wings.
* The ''{{Warcraft}}'' games also have many creatures with four legs and wings (such as dragons and gryphons)
* ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'' has this among the noise forms. Kitanji rules this trope: He goes from no arms and legs as Anguis Cantus, to two four limbs a pair of wings and five heads as Draco Cantus.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Several characters in ''MyLittlePony'', being pegasi or dragons.
** And in the ''Friendship is Magic'' generation, griffons as well.
* WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}} are all winged vertebrates.
* WesternAnimation/SheRaPrincessofPower character Imp possessed two arms, two legs, and two wings.
* {{Transformers}} with aerial alternate modes tend to have four limbs alongside the wings of their alt-mode.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Other]]
* [[http://messybeast.com/winged-cats.htm Cats can grow "wings"]] from matted fur or medical conditions. They can't fly, obviously.
[[/folder]]

!!Vertebrate - Invertebrate Mix
When MixAndMatchCritters include parts from invertebrates, the result can be a creature that appears to be a land vertebrate, but has more than four (and often much more than four) limbs.

* DungeonsAndDragons: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drider driders]], manscorpions, and others.
* The Cray from the PerdidoStreetStation sequel ''Literature/TheScar'' have a humanoid upper body and crayfishlike lower body.
* The Octo-Parrot that appears once in ''TheSimpsons''. "Waaak! Polly shouldn't be!"
* [[UnscaledMerfolk Ursula,]] the main villainess of ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'', is half-octopus. This is most noticable when she is electrocuted at the end of the film.

!!Other / Combos / Unsorted / Lost examples
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'': Yammy has a released form of a centipede-centaur. Basically a giant human but with seven extra legs along a torso extending behind him.
* Snakes with arms: similar to Centaurs, but with the back end of a snake rather than a horse or other quadruped.
** DungeonsAndDragons gives us Yuan-Ti Abominations, and Mariliths (who overlap with MultiArmedAndDangerous).
** MagicTheGathering often has snake-people featured as snakes with arms, but one block (Kamigawa) contained snake-people with four arms, two legs, and ''no tail''.
** CityOfHeroes MMORPG has a "snakes with arms" villian group called "The Snakes", as well as allowing the creation of player characters with wings, both organic and artificial.
** The Naga -- super-sized snakes with human bodies from the waist up where the snakes' heads would be. They're originally from HinduMythology and are now found in quite a few different fantasy series. The aforementioned [=DnD=] creatures may be Naga, but from the description above, probably not.
** Some depictions of Naga feature two or three pairs of arms, and no legs; usually, the most divine members of the species. Others have another snake head at the tip of the tail.
** ''{{Warcraft}}'''s depiction of the Naga has [[BizarreSexualDimorphism two-armed males and four-armed females]].
** ''GuildWars'' has different breeds of Naga, some looking like straight up giant snakes with arms, others with cobra hoods.
** In ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'', Nagah are wereserpents who can shapeshift into five forms: a human, a scaly hairless humanoid, a giant cobra with arms and long claws, a giant snake with gills that can sprout arms when necessary, and a normal snake. Some depictions make their arms as bendy as a snake's spine, just to really weird it up.
** [[http://galileogames.com/bulldogs-fate/ Bulldogs!]], a sci-fi RPG, includes a naga-like species called Saldrallans among its core player races.
* In RealLife the prehistoric reptile ''Coelurosauravus'', a relative of lizards that lived during the Permian Period, had four legs and two gliding "wings." Unlike today's gliding lizards, whose gliding membranes grow on spread-out ribs, ''Coelurosauravus'''s "wings" were an entirely unique set of bones not connected to its ribs. Their morphology suggests they evolved by ossification of connective tissues in the skin, though that's the sort of thing that almost never fossilized so it's difficult to confirm.
* [[WesternAnimation/MonstersInc Randall's]] ex-girlfriend Sylvia Schneider from ''Fanfic/AngelasPetMonster'' is a wolf with four legs, two retractable arms, and a pair of wings.

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