Ever see a bat swim? How about an eagle?

Just because they don’t have webbed feet doesn’t mean they can’t swim.  Check this out: a flying fox (giant fruitbat, or megabat) swimming like it ain’t no thing.  It actually swims pretty well, and looks eerily like a stingray, using the membrane of its wings almost like a stingray’s fins.  Obviously, it can’t ripple them quite as deftly, but the individual finger joints in the bat’s wing gives it remarkable agility in the air, and apparently also serves them pretty well in the water.  Not that this is an ideal place for a bat.  Unlike a waterbird, they can’t take off from the water.  Bats can’t even take off from the ground; they have to climb up to get a bit of height first.  But clearly they can get themselves to the side of the water if they have to.

It looks a lot less awkward than a swimming eagle.  Eagles have basically the same body plan as most birds, and so when they sit on the water they look just like ducks.  But since their feet are adapted into powerful gripping and tearing talons, they’re totally useless for swimming.  So an eagle that has found itself stuck in the water (usually because they went for prey that was a bit too heavy to lift, but which they’re too stubborn to give up on) has to get itself to shore . . . a bit more awkwardly than a duck.

And then sometimes, after all that work, some other jerk eagle goes and robs the catch:


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