Animals With Claws (15 Species With Amazing Claws)

Disclaimer: The information presented below is for general informational & educational purposes only. Always consult with animal professionals in case of specific concerns.

Many animals use their nails as a weapon to attack their prey or as a tool to dig and climb.

Their sharp claws can help defend themselves from predators.

Claws in these species can be either sharp or long, not to mention that some can even retract their nails to avoid making noises.

We’ll go through some animals with claws and their advantages in this post. Let’s read on to discover!

Animals With Sharp claws

Sharp-clawed animals are excellent predators. They use their weapons to attack their prey in a matter of seconds. Here are some of the top predators.


The only mammals capable of actual flight are bats. Although bats are mammals, they have a lot of features in common with birds. However, they don’t make good pets as birds do.

These special mammals use their thin membrane as their wings, and they have two sharp claws on both hands.

Because of their backward placement of the feet, bats find it challenging to perch on the branches as other birds do. Instead, they will hang themselves upside down from the trees with their talons when inactive.

Bats weigh 3.3 pounds. They need strong claws to ensure a strong grip to support their weight.

The birds also use their talons to catch prey. However, snatching prey on the tree or from the ground while flying is still hard as their feet are not strong enough.

Peregrine Falcon

A peregrine falcon, often known as a duck hawk, is a fast-flying bird found amid other birds and animals.

They attack their prey in the air using their formidable beak and talons while in flight.

It can snare flying prey, generally birds, using its sharp, curved, and long talons. Then, it grabs the prey securely in its talons.

Peregrine Falcon

Red-tailed Hawk

The red-tailed hawk, often known as buzzard hawks, belongs to the Accipitridae family of hawks.

The feet of these hawk species are muscular, having four toes with talons. The talons are sharp and roughly one to two inches long.

Barn Owl

A barn owl is a nocturnal raptor, a member of the Tytonidae family. It lives all over the world, except for the polar regions.

Barn owls have two strong feathered feet with four long toes and sharp talons around three inches long on each foot. Their feet are enough to seize anything hiding among the grasses.

Harpy Eagles

The harpy eagle, also known as the Brazilian harpy eagle or American harpy eagle, lives mainly in Central America, notably Panama.

These birds of prey are among the most aggressive birds on the planet with their powerful talons as their weapons.

The eagles use their weapons to catch straws or rodents for meals, as other birds of prey do.

The eagles are 3 feet and 11 inches tall and weigh around 20 pounds. You can’t imagine how huge their talons are, can you?

The talon of this bird is tough enough to grab a monkey from a tree and break a mammal’s spine.

Related: Bird With Long Beak (18 Birds With The Longest Beaks)

Animals With Long Claws

Apart from catching their prey, long-clawed animals use their nails for other purposes, such as climbing or anchoring.

Grizzly Bears

Grizzly bears are one of the most muscular bear species. They sit on the food chain, although most of their diets are plant-based food.

Claws on grizzlies may be up to three inches long. However, the most powerful part of these animals is their paws, which help them decapitate their predators.

Their nails aren’t efficient or sharp enough to break bones, but they come in handy for digging, gripping slippery and difficult-to-hold fish, and finding insects in logs to eat.

Grizzly Bears

Polar Bears

Polar bears are Arctic carnivores. They hunt on slippery ice, so they need sharp nails to anchor and drift while chasing their prey. Their nails can be up to 3. 5 inches in length.

On the other hand, polar bears rely on their wise talents rather than their muscular ones.

They wait for the prey, like bearded seals, to rise to breathe before snatching it with their muscular forelimbs.

Read more: Do Polar Bears Make Good Pets?

Black Bears

Black bears are fierce predators that kill mid-sized animals like moose calves and deer fawns with their paws.

The nails of these bears are two inches long on average, but their front ones are significantly shorter.

Black bears use their nails to attack and skin fish, lift fallen logs for termites and insects and climb up trees to escape predators.

Giant Armadillos

The claws of giant armadillos are very long and do not curl. Those on the front legs are longer than those on the back. The third claw on the forefoot is a sickle claw that can be eight inches long, the same size as our palm.

They are quite sharp to help them dig holes and large to help them find food.

Armadillos have the longest claws. However, they are not aggressive animals that dangerous to human and other animals.

Giant Armadillos

Giant Anteaters

Although giant anteaters are “anteaters,” they do have lethal claws. In terms of hunting, they are insectivores, which means they only use their nails to dig.

Their four-inch-long nails are ideal for digging, and their large tongues and snouts help them slurp food easily.

They can use their nails to defend themselves from predators. These weapons also help in case of threatened territory.


Sloths are tree species known for their slow movements and laziness which make them not dangerous to human in most of the times. Working as other species do is something they find quite weird.

They live in the trees of North and Central America.

Sloths have similar nails as bats. Their curved nails can reach up to four inches.

When they’re not active, these arboreal species mostly use their nails to hang upside down, much as bats do, and they’re rather good at it.


The lion, another species with claws that rests at the top of the food chain, employs this physical characteristic for various functions such as hunting and fighting with other lion predators.

These animals have retractable claws that are far more complicated than those of most other animals.

The lethal nails on the tips of their toes are nearly 1.5 inches long. Lions often have five toes behind and four in front, giving the appearance of lion heels.

People relate the claw of this animal to a kitchen knife. It becomes dull if not sharpened on a regular basis.



The tiger is one of the animals with stripes and spots that has four-inch retractable claws. Their nails are naturally curled, similar to ours, for the best grip.

Tigers have five keratin toes in their hind limbs and four in their forelimbs. However, their curved, long claws make it hard to climb.

As tigers mostly live in the forest, the ability to retract their claws is a significant advantage.

The tiger can retract its nails to avoid crushing plants on the forest floor while seeking prey. Thanks to this feature, it is one of the most successful predators.

Domesticated Cats

Our lovely pets also have retractile claws. Although they are domestic cats, they still belong to the Cat family, along with lions and tigers.

But, unlike their wild counterparts, they don’t need to care about cat predators, thanks to their owners.

Domestic cats only relax their claws when they sense something dangerous is around them. They scratch their enemies to defend themselves.

When cats live among humans, they normally keep their claws hidden. But like their larger competitors, cats do sharpen their nails from time to time.

These animals have five nails on their front foot, including one dewclaw, and four other nails on the hind feet.



The cougar is another animal from the Feline family.

It has curved and shaped retractile nails, which make them not suitable to be a good pet.

This animal’s claw adaptation is excellent for hunting gray and territory markings. The hind limbs help it stand on the tree and mark its own territory.

You can only see their paws print when they hunt on rough terrains or when they use their claws to drift and anchor.

The paw print of these animals is about four inches in length with retractile nails embedded in it.

Related: Animals With 6 Legs (9 Amazing Six-Legged Species)

Interesting Facts About Animal Claws

Do you want to discover more about the animal claws? Keep reading, and you’ll be surprised!

Hundreds of mammals are clawed animals

Many people relate claws to huge cats, yet you can find them in a wide variety of animals, from bears to weasels.

Claws of all cats are retractable

No matter what kind of cat you are thinking about, they all have retractable claws.

Cats only use their nails when necessary, like hunting, finding traction on the ground, and climbing trees.

Cheetahs are virtually an exception to this rule. The claws of these sprinters must be ready all the time. However, they are still semi-retractable to some extent.

You can learn more about cat nails right here:

Some of the hooves are claws

A hoof is a nail that has grown large enough to support the weight of an animal.

Some people assume the one side of the cloven feet that distinguish even-toed ungulates to be a claw.


Clawed animals use their nails as weapons, which makes them look fierce. However, some have retractable and long nails that work for other purposes.

Hopefully, the guide we have shared can help you understand more about clawed species. For any further information, please feel free to ask.