Kangaroos are fascinating marsupials that are native to Australia. They are well-known for the way that they move around by using their powerful hind legs to hop and bound over great distances. But, have you ever wondered how high a kangaroo can jump?
Large kangaroos, like the red kangaroo, can easily leap 10 feet (3 meters) high into the air. They can also easily cover a distance of around 25 feet (7.5 metres) with each jump. This allows them to cover distances of around 30 miles (48 kilometers) in just one hour.
So, how is it possible for such a large animal to be able to jump so high and far?
How Kangaroos Have Developed The Ability To Leap To Great Heights
Kangaroos belong to a family of animals called macropods. This word comes from Greek word for “large foot”. When you look at a kangaroo’s hind legs, you’ll understand why they belong to this family of animals.
Kangaroos have very large and powerful hind legs as well as extremely large back feet. These large feet allow the animal to push off from the ground and leap to great heights.
In addition to these large and powerful feet, kangaroos also have a long and powerful tail. This tail is primarily used by the kangaroo for balance. When you watch a mob of kangaroos bounding over the countryside, you’ll see that they’re gait looks almost effortless.
The secret to their effortless movement is the Achilles tendon that runs along the entire hind leg. This tendon effectively acts like a spring to give the animal the momentum that it needs to move forward.
You’ll also notice that kangaroos keep their feet together when they hop. This effectively gives them extra propulsion. You see, when the kangaroo first takes off, the Achilles tendons are stretched much like the stretching of a rubber band. As the muscles in the legs contract, they pull the legs downward. This creates the spring effect much like when the stretched rubber band is released.
Greater Momentum Is Created As The Speed Increases
As you would imagine, as the kangaroo hops along, it creates greater momentum that will increase both the speed and the distance of every leap. This continuous forward motion allows the kangaroos to travel over long distances quite easily and without expending too much energy.
The Height And Distance Of Each Leap Depends On The Size Of The Animal
The largest kangaroo species are the red kangaroo. These animals are also regarded as the largest marsupials in the world. To start with, a red kangaroo in full flight, can reach a speed of around 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour).
When in full flight and with the assistance of momentum, this means that a red kangaroo can easily leap a distance of 25 to 30 feet (7 to 9 meters) in just one jump.
The longest recorded jump was by a female red kangaroo in 1951. Incredibly, this animal was able to leap a massive 42 feet (12.8 meters) in just one jump.
It’s also interesting to note that from a standing start, a kangaroo can only jump a distance of around 6.5 feet (2 meters) in a single jump.
Using the same principles, it’s been determined that a red kangaroo can jump as high as 10 feet (3 meters) while in full flight. However, it can only reach a height of around 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters) from a standing start.
Hopping Over Great Distances Uses Minimal Energy
For kangaroos, hopping over long distances actually allows them to conserve energy. This is because the power of momentum pushes them forward in a continuous motion. In addition, their Achilles tendon provides around 70% of the energy that these large animals need to continue their forward motion.
No wonder their gait looks almost effortless. That’s precisely why kangaroos can travel huge distances without expending a huge amount of energy.
What this also means is that kangaroos can easily outrun any possible predators that they may encounter. However, in most parts of Australia, predators are far and few between these days which is why there are twice as many kangaroos in this country than there are people.
Frequently Asked Questions
How high can a kangaroo jump in meters?
A kangaroo in full flight can jump as high as 3 meters. That’s almost 10 feet.
What animal jumps the highest?
The highest jumping land animal is a cougar. It can leap as high as 19.6 feet (6 meters). However, the highest leaping mammal is the dolphin that can jump as high as 22.9 feet (7 meters).
How hard can a kangaroo kick?
It’s no secret that kangaroos have an ultra powerful kick. In fact, just one kick from a kangaroo’s hind leg can reach a force of 759 pounds.
How fast is a kangaroo at full speed?
A large red kangaroo can reach a speed of 43.5 miles per hour (70 kilometers per hour).
Are kangaroos stronger than humans?
Absolutely! Kangaroos are around 6 to 8 times stronger than humans.
What can kangaroos not do?
Kangaroos cannot move backwards and they also cannot move their hind legs independently of each other.
Kangaroos are amazing animals to watch when they’re in full flight. They can cover large distances in very short amounts of time thanks to their amazing ability to jump with their hind legs. Not only this, but they can jump as high as 10 feet (3 meters) once they’ve gained enough forward motion momentum.
They can also cover a huge distance with each leap, as far as 30 feet (9 meters) in just one jump. This is all thanks to their powerful hind legs and huge feet. What’s even more incredible is that they do all of this without expending a lot of energy. They are truly a magnificent sight when you watch a mob of them hopping along with seemingly little effort.