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nicobanks's avatar

Can all animals stretch?

Asked by nicobanks (2906 points ) January 22nd, 2010

I know from personal experience that humans, cats, dogs, rabbits, and pigeons can and do stretch, and I can assume from this that similarly-structured animals stretch as well, but what about, say, fish? Reptiles? Mice?

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19 Answers

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

I doubt fish and other aquatic animals need to stretch, as their bodies aren’t under the same pressures as land based organisms. However, I would assume that all land animals can stretch. This is based purely off of my first instincts, with no technical scientific backing.

nicobanks's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities Ah, so it’s a land/water thing you figure? Interesting. Thanks for answering!

marinelife's avatar

I think that all animals can stretch—even fish.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Well, underwater, most animals don’t stop moving, so I imagine they don’t put the same stresses on their joints and muscles that land based animals do. That would eliminate the need for stretching, IMO. For example, if I sit at my computer for long hours every day, it put stress on my lower back, and other muscles. I need to stretch to alleviate these pressures. Similarly, gravity and body weight puts stresses on the joints and muscles of land animals. But underwater, this stress is lessened. Since fish keep moving, and don’t really sit or lay down, it would seem (to me at least) that their body weight wouldn’t factor in as a stress to their muscles and joints. This in turn, may alleviate the need for stretching.

Again, this is just off the top of my head, and I could be wrong.

Perhaps @Marina is right, and I’m confusing the ability to stretch with the necessity of stretching.

nicobanks's avatar

@Marina Thanks for answering. Care to extrapolate? (Like, why do you think that?)

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities Great answer. I think most underwater animals at least stop moving when they sleep, don’t they? – but I do understand what you mean, about pressure. What do you think about insects? Same as other land creatures? What about the animals on the sea floor? Maybe the water isn’t as heavy as gravity, but they do rest down against a solid surface for periods of time.

marinelife's avatar

Well, I have seen all kinds of animals stretch: pigs, sheep, horses, zoo animals (elephants), snakes.

As for fish, they do stand still in the water part of the time. I think they could stratch out their muscles using their tails to stretch their spines.

nicobanks's avatar

@Marina Cool, thanks. What does a snake stretching look like?

nicobanks's avatar

@Marina It says I don’t have permission to access :(

marinelife's avatar

Sorry, don’t know why that would be. Try this one.

nicobanks's avatar

@Marina Thanks. I guess to an eye not intimate with snakes, a snake stretch looks much like a snake anything.

Snarp's avatar

I don’t think you can say “all animals” do much of anything, other than reproduce and move. The world of animals is awfully varied. Is a snail’s movement stretching? I’m not sure it even makes sense to use the word. All mammals? Probably. Perhaps even all vertebrates, but I’m holding out on this one until I hear from biologists who are experts on muscle tissues in mollusks, fish, insects, arachnids, and cephalopods.

nicobanks's avatar

@Snarp Thanks Snarp, good points.

CMaz's avatar

If I catch a fish and it is ½ inch to an inch short. I will make it stretch. ;-)

downtide's avatar

I know for certain that mice and rats do stretch because I’ve kept them as pets and watched them do it. A rat, waking up, yawning and stretching, is incredibly cute.

marinelife's avatar

@downtide That puts a cute image in my mind. Thanks!

YARNLADY's avatar

No. Snakes shed their skin when it gets too tight, and any rigid exosketeton animal will not be able to.

nicobanks's avatar

@YARNLADY Thanks for your answer. Rigid exoskeleton; is that, like, lizards and stuff? Isn’t there always gaps in the exoskeleton, at least enough to move around – and if there’s ability to move, couldn’t there be ability to stretch?

YARNLADY's avatar

Lizards and snakes have an internal skeleton and backbone just like we do. Crabs, Lobster, snail, turtle, and clam have exoskeleton. I believe the crab and lobster can move their joints, but not stretch. Turtle, clam and snail can stretch.

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