How High Can A Kangaroo Jump? Fun Facts For Little Animal Lovers

Gurpuneet Kaur
Jan 17, 2023 By Gurpuneet Kaur
Originally Published on Oct 25, 2021
Edited by Lara Simpson
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Kangaroo hopping / jumping mid air on sand on the beach
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.4 Min

Read on to know more about an amazing marsupial that moves by hopping and jumping through the air, a kangaroo!

The taxonomic name of the family Macropodidae means 'big feet,' specifying the well-evolved feet of kangaroos that allow them to hop and jump around to travel from one place to another. Do you wonder how and why do kangaroos jump so high?

What will you do if you participate in the long jump race but aren't that powerful? Imagine you are asked to choose an animal as your replacement to participate in the race on your behalf.

Who will you choose to take your place? If you were to ask us, we would tell you to select a kangaroo, and more specifically, a Red kangaroo!

Also, it is a gregarious creature with a friendly temperament living in groups called mobs. Therefore, it might win on your behalf if you successfully convey what you want them to do.

Kangaroos are marsupial mammals that are native to Australia.

With over 30000 species in Australia, how can you identify a kangaroo? A kangaroo has several characteristics that make it stand out from every other species, like a pouch carrying food and joey, a muscular tail, powerful hind legs, large feet, long pointed ears, and short brown or gray fur.

It is also the national emblem of Australia, the land of its origin.

The powerful musculoskeletal system of a kangaroo allows the animal to hop and jump through the air, and the tail is used to attain balance as it swings with great speed covering a considerable length.

A red kangaroo is the fastest jumper among all species of kangaroos in the world that jumps at the speed of 35 mph (56 kph), covering 25 ft (7.6 m) in a leap, and each jump is as high as 6 ft (1.8 m).

The incredible strength of the muscles launches the red kangaroo high in the air covering a significant length of distance.

If you enjoy this article, why not also read about What do kangaroos eat? and kangaroo vs. wallaby here on Kidadl?

Different Types Of Kangaroo And Their Jumping Abilities

Kangaroos are classified into two extant genera, Macropus and Osphranter, that are further divided into four species; the antilopine kangaroos, eastern gray kangaroos, red kangaroos, and western gray kangaroos.

Kangaroos are incredibly large mammals that are well-adapted to use hopping and jumping as their means of locomotion. While the potential energy of the kangaroo is stored in elastic tendons, powerful muscles lift the body above the ground in the air, hopping at incredible speeds.

A kangaroo is capable of covering magnificent distances on the ground by jumps of significant height and length.

A red kangaroo is the largest kangaroo, with a height ranging from 6.8 ft (2 m) and weighing about 201 lb (91 kg). Also, red kangaroos are the fastest and highest jumpers with prominent well-developed hind legs and tiny front legs.

While males cover 26-29.5 ft (8-9 m) in a leap, red kangaroos are recorded to jump as high as 6-10 ft (1.8-3 m).

Antilopine kangaroos are found living in groups in the wild and are seen hopping and jumping as high as 10 ft (3 m). A male antilopine kangaroo is recorded to cover a distance of 30 ft (9 m) in a single leap on average.

Eastern gray kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) and western gray kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus) are wild species of kangaroos classified under the genus Macropus. The weight of the species from the genus Macropus ranges from about 37-146 lb (17-66 kg).

Like other kangaroos, they cannot walk either and instead hop and jump to move around within their habitat.

While a western gray kangaroo has a speed of about 12 mph (19 kph) on average, an eastern gray kangaroo jumps at speeds of about 15-35 mph (24-56 kph). A gray kangaroo can jump up to 44 ft (13.5 m).

When the kangaroos travel at low speeds and are too tired to jump or hop, they use their tail as a tripod with their front legs crawling around to various places.

Why do kangaroos jump?

Like every animal has evolved from an ancestor, do you know who the ancestors of kangaroos were? Possum-like terrestrial animals! These ancient animals had well-evolved feet and legs to climb up and down the treetop.

Neither the possum-like ancient creatures nor kangaroos could run or walk properly. The tendons in the hind legs act as the spring that generates the force to allow a kangaroo hop without a heavy muscular effort. The tail of the kangaroo is its balancing aid that helps the kangaroo get back at its feet.

The ability of a kangaroo to jump and hop helps it thrive in the harsh climates of Australia as it enables it to move around in an energy-efficient way in search of food and shelter. Also, kangaroos are evolved to carry joeys and food in their pouch to fight the extreme weather.

Eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) jumping in grass

How do kangaroos jump so high?

Observing kangaroos jumping high in their natural habitat is indeed an incredible sight to watch. Unlike other animals that walk, kangaroos jump and hop at a significant speed to travel, which helps them save energy.

The strong and long hind legs with a tail to ensure balance assist the kangaroo during saltation. Saltation is the act of a kangaroo hopping around places with great speed. Although hopping is an effective method of locomotion for a kangaroo, it can neither walk nor can move backward!

Which animal can jump the highest?

Flea is a flightless insect but a champion jumper. It jumps as high as 150-200 times its body length. Are you wondering how does it jump so high? It has a lightweight body and long rear legs compared to its body size that pushes the flea off the ground and allows them to soar.

Another creature that can jump efficiently is a well-adapted jumping spider to jump up to 100 times its body length. Surprisingly, it has eight eyes.

Likewise, a red kangaroo jumps, covering a far away length and an incredible length. It is the largest kangaroo that covers a distance of 30 ft (9 m) in a leap and jumps as high as 11 ft (3.3 m).

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for How high can a kangaroo jump? then why not take a look at How high can a cat jump? or eastern gray kangaroo facts?

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Written by Gurpuneet Kaur

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Gurpuneet Kaur picture

Gurpuneet KaurBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

As a skilled content writer, Gurpuneet has written and managed engaging content for multiple websites and companies. Driven by a passion for helping young people achieve their full potential, she brings a unique perspective to her work. She is currently pursuing a degree in Economics from Sri Guru Gobind Singh College Of Commerce. With extensive experience as a tutor, Gurpuneet has made a significant impact by providing guidance and academic support to students. Her dedication extends beyond tutoring as she has volunteered with Action India, where she offered medical assistance and educational aid to underprivileged communities. Additionally, Gurpuneet has contributed to the creation of student study guides for various educational agencies.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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