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If the Shoe Fits: Animals That Wear Boots

You don’t have to wear Prada or Gucci to remain fashionable: Check out these animals strutting their stuff in booties.


Chhouk the orphan elephant (see video above) now roams the forests of Cambodia with a prosthetic boot. Chhouk was found severely malnourished and missing his front left foot, likely due to a run-in with a poacher’s snare.

Wildlife rescuers fitted the Asian elephant with a prosthetic, and now he’s back on his feet, thanks to the conservation group Wildlife Alliance. Because the prosthetic boot will need replacing after years of wear and tear, Chhouk will never be released back into the wild, but park officials say the “inspirational elephant” has a new lease on life.

Gentoo Penguin

Akemi the gentoo penguin was outfitted with beer cozies after contracting bumblefoot—a bacterial infection that’s common in captive birds, CBCNews reported.

penguin in boots picture
Akemi the gentoo penguin in her fancy footwear. Photograph by Karen Moxley/CBC

When the young bird came down with the condition, zookeepers at the Calgary Zoo in Canada encased her flippers in beer cozies to protect her feet until they healed. Fastened with duct tape and zippers, the booties come with an endorsement by Carlsberg—the brewery that donated the material. Cheers to penguins!

penguin in boots picture
Akemi with her life partner (right). Photograph by Karen Moxley/CBC

Dung Beetles

An international team of scientists recently outfitted dung beetles with silicone boots as part of an experiment to find out how the African insects handle the savannah heat, which can reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). Dung beetles typically climb on top of moist balls of poo to stay cool, but those with the modern footgear didn’t need to rely on the ball as much as those who went bootless, their study showed.

The research was awarded a 2013 Ignobel Prize last week. University of the Witwatersrand professor Marcus Byrne‘s speech included the phrase “you can’t do science without balls,” according to the South African publication Financial Mail.


Duckie is the most fashion-conscious fowl in Southern California. The pet duck sports boots made of purple neoprene, the material used to fashion wetsuits. Duckie’s owner used to take him on long walks down San Diego’s beaches, wrapping his feet in duct tape to prevent hot sand burns, the Huffington Post reported.

But locals were worried that the duct tape would hurt the bird’s feet, not to mention his street cred. So the folks at Surf ‘N’ Sea Custom Wetsuits fitted Duckie with tiny booties—fancy footwear for webbed feet.


Forget Puss in Boots. Accessorize your porker with some snazzy shoes, and they’ll be the talk of the farm. Teacup pigs are so small when they’re born—weighing only 9 ounces—that they can fit into baby booties. But if you live in Oklahoma, playing dress-up with swine is off-limits. According to state law, it’s “illegal to have the hind legs of farm animals in your boots,” The Examiner reported.

What other animals have you seen wearing boots?

Follow Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato on Twitter.




  1. myself
    in front of the computer
    September 22, 2013, 3:17 pm

    you know reading a state’s laws and commenting like that in an article makes you look more foolish. it does say in YOUR boots and any farm animal not just pigs honestly learn to understand what you are reading before trying to make an entire state look silly . After all Oklahoma isn’t the state that says it is illegal to have a camel in your bed.

  2. Sheryl
    September 21, 2013, 11:12 pm
  3. Joe Stevens
    San Francisco
    September 21, 2013, 9:09 pm

    Oh, Mollie!

    I think you misunderstand the nature of Oklahoma’s law: it’s certainly not about dressup! You put the farm animals’ hind legs in your boots so they don’t run away!



  4. Grant Hayter-Menzies
    Sidney, British Columbia
    September 21, 2013, 7:06 pm

    When she visited the Great Wall of China in summer 1899, Sarah Pike Conger, wife of the US minister to China, watched with fascination as a herd of pigs being driven from the Mongolian to the Chinese side, destined for market in Beijing, all wore leather boots, hundreds of them. These were to keep the pigs comfortable en route to the city in the plains below. Mrs. Conger admired this not merely because she saw it as excellent animal husbandry – because healthy and happy animals would fetch more than ill and sore ones – but most of all because it gave the lie to stories she had heard about Chinese cruelty to animals. After all, she wondered, if some Chinese were cruel, was cruelty a trait unique to them and no other people? “Cruelty” Sarah observed, “is a dark thread woven into the fabric of every nation,” not some more than others.