(adj.) 1. An animal or being that walks primarily on the front 'digits' of one's feet or paws. 2. A term used to describe the 'backwards-jointed' leg of most mammalian animals. In truth, the plantigrade legs of most animals are jointed much the same as the digitigrade legs of humans, with different length and size proportions in the leg bones.
Some animals walk on their toes; the scientific term for this is digitigrade. Only a small part of the foot touches the ground and the animal can me very quickly. Many predators are digitigrade. Some animals that are digitigrade are dogs, cat, and birds. There is a pad of tissue on the back of the feet on these animals that acts like a shock absorber. People, bears, and crocodiles walk differently; they are plantigrade (flat-footed). (Compare with plantigrade.)
A digitigrade is an animal that stands or walks on its digits, or toes. Digitigrades include walking cats, dogs, and most other mammals, except humans, bears, and a few others. They are generally faster and quieter than other types of animals.