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Running on All Fours
I smell catnip!

You know how they say "learn to crawl before you run"? Well, this character has learned to do both at once. This character may walk or run on two legs but is absurdly fast and nimble when running on all fours. Though running on all fours for humans is still possible, we've evolved to move faster and more efficiently through bipedal motion (our arms would have to be longer to be really good at it).

This character though is a bit of a throwback for doing otherwise, and a pretty successful throwback as well because they can run just as fast (if not faster) than on two legs. This atavism is represented by the character being Raised by Wolves, a partly non-human Beast Man or a Wolf Man. On the other extreme a Cyborg or genetically altered character might have this added as an alternate mode of locomotion. Then again, the Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl and other supernatural critters may move this way just for freaky kicks.

Sometimes, Funny Animals and Civilized Animals will assume this stance, whether as part of a Masquerade or not.

This Sister Trope of Primal Stance often involves Ceiling Cling, In a Single Bound, Wall Crawl and Wall Jump. The character can grab onto the roof, jump super high, run on walls and jump from object to object. Civilized Animals and Funny Animals are known to switch to all fours.

The polar opposite of Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better, where a quadruped adopts a decidedly humanoid gait. May constitute a mild example of Bizarre Alien Locomotion. Can be part of an Anthropomorphic Zig Zag or Furry Reminder.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • The eponymous hero of Naruto does this from time to time, especially in the earlier part of the series, when he was less aware of the 9-Tailed Fox sealed inside him. None of the other characters with Tailed Beasts sealed inside them exhibit this behavior.
    • Kiba does this as well.
  • Berserk units in Neon Genesis Evangelion and Rebuild of Evangelion run this way.
  • Yamcha does this in Dragon Ball Z after he fails to catch King Kai's Monkey while running on two legs, as part of King Kai's training. He promptly catches him this way.
  • Merle in Vision of Escaflowne does this.
  • An early minor villain in 666 Satan does this due to an absurdly acute fear of heights.
  • Pokémon: Pikachu can function equally well on either four or two legs - they walk on two legs but run on four.
  • Mikoto of Mai-HiME does this on occasion, referencing her semi-feral upbringing and how she was largely raised by cats.

    Comic Books 
  • X-Men foe Sabretooth is fond of this across continuities.
  • Averted in one Yakari story: Yakari has lost his memory and thinks he's a bear cub. His new mother is teaching how to grow into a proper bear by hunting, fishing and running. However, he quickly discovers he's better at running on two legs.

    Fan-Works 
  • Like his film counterpart, Anguirus (at least in his true form) in The Bridge is a rarity amongst the mostly bipedal kaiju in that he runs on all fours; only rearing up on his hindlegs to walk and fight

     Film - Animated 

    Film - Live Action 
  • In Legion, one of the angel-possessed humans (the ice-cream man) has his limbs elongate and allow him to really run on all fours like a demented spider.
  • The creatures in Pandorum alternate between bipedal and quadripedal running when chasing the heroes.
  • The Promise has all of the slaves used as bait in the opening battle move around like this because as slaves they weren't allowed to act like humans. The protagonist Kunlun is easily able to outrun all of his other fellow slaves, but it turns into an aversion since he does run faster bipedally— he's just that good of a runner.
  • Samara from The Ring, who crawls up the well and out of a TV set.
  • Played for Black Humor in Shallow Hal. The main characters have a friend with spina bifida, leaving him with limited use of his legs; thus, he gets around on all fours.
  • The Wolf Man, when transformed, tends to abandon bipedal running when not in the middle of killing someone, which is rare if there's anybody near enough to sink his claws into.
  • The Lycans of Underworld, when transformed, run on all fours on ground and through trees and can easily catch up with horses, either way.
  • In the movie The Animal, Marvin Mange, who has been implanted with various animal organs, starts running on all fours when being chased down by a truck.
  • Some Decepticons from the Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
  • Apes in the Planet of the Apes remake, although mostly bipedal, did this when they were really excited and in a hurry.

    Literature 
  • The Land That Time Forgot has, of all things, a Tyrannosaurus rex running on all fours.
  • Goblins of Artemis Fowl are described as bipedal simpletons that revert to all-fours for running, specifically for the speed boost
  • Monk Mayfair from the Doc Savage novels sometimes does this (his arms are so long they almost touch the ground when he is standing up).
  • Gor: the alien Kurii are bipedal, but switch to all fours when running.
  • Some strains of ratfolk from the Garrett, P.I. series run by bending forward and bounding on all fours, bouncing their palms off the ground as they go.
  • Some goblins are said to do this in The Hobbit. Justified because goblins have longer arms in comparison to their bodies than humans/elves/dwarves/hobbits, and sometimes the bigger ones need to do this in order to quickly move through tunnels with low ceilings, as their race is subterranean by inclination.
  • The Woggle-Bug in The Wizard of Oz series would walk on two legs, as he felt it was more civilized, but would revert to four legs when he was scared and needed to run faster.
  • In the Harry Potter series, the werewolf Fenrir Greyback does this... while in human form.
  • In Dinoverse, Candayce is put into the body of a Leptoceratops, a more lightly built relative of Triceratops. Leptos actually run faster on two legs, but otherwise are more stable when moving on all fours. Initially Candayce refuses to ever walk like that, because on some level it's accepting that she's an animal.
  • The Sholan Alliance series has Sholans who will all do this when they need to cover a lot of ground on foot.

    Live Action TV 
  • There's a variant in Lexx, where Xev is able to curl up like a wheel and roll rapidly, because she's become part cluster-lizard and that's their method of locomotion.
  • The heroes of Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger run on all fours when chasing an enemy. Also used in the adaptation Power Rangers Wild Force, yet downplayed because all of them got Cool Bikes (as opposed to Gaoranger where only the Sixth Ranger had a bike).
  • Teen Wolf has this as it is the fastest way of travel for Betas and Alphas.

     Tabletop Games 
  • In Ironclaw "All Fours" is an Atavism Gift that increases movement speed when empty-handed.

    Video Games 
  • In Lugaru the Player Character can do this. Justified, since he is a rabbit, although normally bipedal.
  • The Stranger from Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath starts loping if he runs for long enough. It's actually rather impressive considering the fact that Stranger's true form is that of a centaur-like creature.
  • The animal dash ability in Tomba! allows the titular character to do this.
  • The protagonist of Prehistorik Man runs on all four.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, protagonist Sora does this in Anti-Form.
  • The Worgen in World of Warcraft usually walk around on two legs, but go to all fours when they need to move fast. The playable Worgen have this instead of a racial mount.
  • The Fast Zombies from Half-Life 2, which have long fingers to seemingly support this.
  • Cave woman Ayla runs this way in Chrono Trigger.
  • As in the anime and manga section, Pikachu can function equally well on either four or two legs - when they're in 3D, they're shown to run on four and walk on two.
  • City of Heroes features the purchasable power Beast Run which allows a character to do this.
  • Sonic Unleashed: When in Werehog form, Sonic goes down to all fours when sprinting.
  • Daxter from the Jak and Daxter series normally sticks to using his hind legs for walking and running, but there are some instances where he drops to all fours, usually as part of a Furry Reminder.
  • In Samurai Shodown, "Cat Girl" Cham-Cham runs on all fours. She's not actually a catgirl though. She can run faster than the other characters.

    Web Comics 
  • El Goonish Shive. During the "Painted Black" arc, while Grace is infiltrating Damien's underground lair she encounters Vlad and tries to run away from him. While in her half squirrel/half human form she gets down on all fours like a squirrel to run away from him.
  • Florence in Freefall switches to quadruped when running, because she's a wolf. She actually grew up as a quadruped and then had to adapt to standing upright as an adult.
  • In this strip of The Whiteboard, Bandit is shown running on all fours to catch up with others, even though normally when he runs it's on two feet like a human.
    • Earlier, a very PO'ed and hung over Doc drops to all fours to chase Roger.
  • Most of the Digitigrade Cyantians of The Cyantian Chronicles are capable of this, though they do so less as adults.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Rigby from Regular Show when he needs to move quickly.
  • Zeke the Big Bad Wolf from the Silly Symphonies cartoon, Three Little Pigs is normally a bipedal half-dressed Funny Animal, but at the end of the cartoon, he becomes completely naked, assumes a four-legged stance, and runs away.
  • The Gargoyles often do this when they're in a hurry.
  • Nightcrawler in X-Men: Evolution is occasionally seen running on all fours, usually when he's in an urgent situation.
  • The Thunderkittens in ThunderCats (2011).
    • Possibly grandfathered in as a nod to the original ThunderCats, in which Lion-O drops to all fours in order to outrun a lava flow on a hillside and catch up to the Thunder Tank. Snarf also tends to switch between being bipedal and quadrupedal with little or no reasoning other than what he feels like; his nephew Snarfer distinctly prefers bipedal locomotion.
  • Fifi LaFume from Tiny Toon Adventures sometimes does this.
  • Wakko Warner from Animaniacs and would do this a few times as well.
  • Pinky the tall mouse from Pinky and the Brain would run in his hamster wheel like this.
  • Spike from both the original My Little Pony and Friendship is Magic is occasionally seen doing this.
    • On The My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Movie. Twilight is seen running on all Four after be transformed on Human. Before noticing that she was not supposed to run that way.
  • As with other examples above, Chip and Dale from Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers can run faster on all fours than they do upright, so leg it on all fours if they really need to move. Oddly, Monterey and Gadget only rarely do so if at all.
  • Beast Boy from Teen Titans Go! occasionally does this.
  • Timber Wolf from Legion Of Superheroes does this a few times
  • In the first episode of Teacher's Pet when Spot the dog first puts on his human disguise and enters the school everyone points and says "Who's that kid running on all fours?", they lead the viewer to think it's Spot but it's actually resident weird kid Ian Waseluski.
  • Title character from Little Bear, Funny Animal without cloths.
  • Olmecs from The Mysterious Cities of Gold. They are mutated humans of ancient civilization and look a bit like aliens and a bit like monkeys.

    Real Life 
  • Most children have to learn to go up stairs without using their hands.
  • Some adults can pull it off better than others. And yes, there is a world record holder: Kenichi Ito.
  • In documented cases of human children being raised by wild animals like wolves, or in one case, gazelles, they are often found being able to run perfectly well on all fours.
    • There's a shortage of actual documented cases of humans being literally raised by wild animals... but there's definitely cases of severe neglect by parents and other adults, which is just as bad. It still causes arthritis in the back and wrists by the time you hit your thirties - we're badly built for it.
  • Inverted by some lizards, which walk on four legs but rise up on their hind legs to run.
  • Some of the techniques involved in Le Parkour.
  • Some dinosaurs, like Leptoceraptops (mentioned in the Literature Dinoverse example), some prosauropods and possibly Iguanadon. It was first thought to walk on all fours, then switched to an upright pose, but now some scientists think it could walk either way, though primarily moving on all fours.


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