Can Kangaroos Jump Backwards?

Sometimes, we find ourselves pondering the most bizarre questions, one of such might be, can kangaroos jump backwards?

If you’ve found yourself wondering about this subject, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Can Kangaroos Jump Backwards?

Kangaroos are known for their powerful feet, which are renowned for athleticism, and jumping over wide open plains in Australia.

Surely, if kangaroos have the capacity to jump forwards, they can go backwards too right? To find out more about this topic, keep reading, because we’ve got the answers below. 

Can Kangaroos Walk Backwards? 

We need to address this question first of all, because it was one of the most commonly searched regarding kangaroos and their mobility.

We have to clarify that no, kangaroos cannot walk backwards, purely because they are not capable of walking in the first place, instead they hop.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get to the question of whether or not kangaroos are able to jump backwards.

The simple answer is, no, they are not able to jump backwards, and several different factors are responsible for this inability. 

One of the main reasons that kangaroos aren’t able to jump backwards is because of their huge, muscular tail.

Their tail is a counter balance to their forward movements, so if they were to walk normally (which they can’t), their tail would affect their balance. 

Another reason why kangaroos aren’t able to hop backwards is because of their huge feet which are primarily designed for jumping.

Although the feet of a kangaroo are separated, they can’t actually move them at different times because they’re so large. 

Their feet are simply too huge to be moved at different speeds, and need to be joined together in a hopping motion for kangaroos to get around.

This means that whether or not we’re talking about kangaroos moving forwards or backwards, they’re simply not able to do so by walking. 

Can Kangaroos Walk In Any Kind Of Way?

Can Kangaroos Walk In Any Kind Of Way?

As we’ve covered above, kangaroos primarily get around by hopping, but there are some instances where you may find them doing something that could resemble walking whilst they’re moving forwards. 

Kangaroos sometimes will drop down on all fours, so that both their large feet and their hands are resting on the ground, but not very often.

The main time that you’ll find kangaroos behaving in this manner is when they’re incredibly relaxed and not in any rush to get around. 

A kangaroo might drop down on all fours when they are grazing, or when they’re simply crawling around lazily with no real place to be.

When they do adopt this position, the kangaroo will use their tail as their balancing tool, then drop their hands down to the ground, swinging them forward with each hopping motion. 

Again, this can’t really be considered a form of walking, because they are still technically hopping around.

As we mentioned earlier, the kangaroo’s feet and tail are too large to allow them to walk around as we would. 

Why Do Kangaroos Hop Instead Of Walk?

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering why exactly kangaroos have evolved to hop in the first place, it’s really all to do with ancestry.

The distant ancestor of the kangaroo, which has now become extinct, used to resemble an opossum. 

This possum-like creature would live primarily in the trees, and would find them difficult to climb.

As this creature evolved, it gradually became more adept at using a hopping motion, in order to propel itself up the tree more easily.

It would also save a lot of time and energy, as hopping wouldn’t require the same amount of exercise as walking would. 

Hence we have our kangaroo of today, that can be seen hopping around blissfully in the open plains of Australia.

By hopping instead of walking, the kangaroo can more effectively cover longer distances, and simultaneously expend less precious energy in the process. 

Are Kangaroos Able To Run?

So, are kangaroos able to run when they’re in a hurry or facing danger? No, because as you guessed it, kangaroos aren’t capable of this function. 

They can, however, hop at great speeds, covering long distances in the process. The technical name for their hopping movement, for those who are interested, is called saltation. 

If we are talking about the maximum speed that an average kangaroo can reach by hopping, it would probably be around 44 miles per hour, which is incredible.

When covering longer distances however, where they need to conserve some more of their energy, they will typically jump at 16 miles per hour. 

25 feet is the maximum distance that a kangaroo can jump in one single hop.

This is why people who choose to own kangaroos as pets need to make sure that they have plenty of land so that they can comfortably hop around, as well as having tall enough fences so that they don’t simply leap over. 

The reason why kangaroos are able to jump so far is because their bodies are made up of so much muscle. In fact, around fifty percent of the kangaroo’s total body weight is composed entirely of muscle.

This is why they can prove to be so dangerous to human beings, along with their incredibly sharp talons that are made for fighting predators. 

Final Thoughts

Kangaroos are not able to jump backwards primarily because of their tails. Their tail is incredibly weighty, and prevents them from moving in a backwards motion.

Kangaroos do not walk either, apart from occasionally dropping down to all fours in order to graze. 

Kangaroos have an incredible capacity for jumping however, and are able to cover huge distances with just one hop.

Olivia Kepner