Kangaroos are one of the most iconic animals not only in Australia but the world as a whole but the question remains why do they hop.
In total there are four different species of kangaroo that live in New Guinea and Australia, the females are known for carrying their young named joeys in a pouch.
The kangaroo has an incredibly unique method of moving around; they are easily able to cover great distances with a single leap from their powerful legs.
But how far can they actually jump? Read on and learn more about the incredible jumping reach of the kangaroo (Also check out Are Kangaroos Smart?) and the benefits of them traveling this way.
How Do Kangaroos Jump So Far?
Kangaroos are one of the very few creatures that move around by simply hopping, the kangaroo has a bounding gate that allows them to leap large distances and some big heights in just a single leap.
The ability to do this easily comes from their very unique build and body structure.
Over generations the kangaroo has been perfectly evolving to suit their method of moving around.
Kangaroos have very powerful and well developed legs with large back feet.
The back feet are also very strong and give the kangaroo the momentum boost needed to jump off of the ground.
Along with these bodily parts designed for maximizing the kangaroo’s leap it also has a large muscular tail that will balance it out whilst it’s making the jumps.
The unique style of movement turned out to be one of the best and most efficient methods that an animal can move around with.
Hopping will allow the kangaroo to cover great distances efficiently and with not as much effort as animals who run and spend energy faster and much safer than other leaping animals who mostly spend time in the trees.
So how do kangaroos’ legs hold out from the stress of leaping and landing every day?
The kangaroo has a very strong Achilles tendon that runs down the back of their legs and acts as a spring.
They also use both legs simultaneously rather than one at a time so there is no stress leveled on one leg in particular.
When they first hope they tuck their legs and toes underneath themselves to allow the tendons to stretch this in turn gives the tendons and ligaments the elastic potential energy and once the muscle contracts back out the legs also go back down.
The action of moving back downwards makes a spring effect occur and allows the kangaroo to jump very effectively.
How High And Far Do They Jump?
So now we understand how they jump and why they do it. Let’s discuss just how high they can reach in a single jump.
We have already discussed how they use their legs to create momentum and as you can probably guess momentum is crucial when it comes to leaping into the air.
As the kangaroo is bouncing along it builds up momentum and this in turn increases the speed at which they are traveling.
The longer they are traveling, the larger the leaps will become.
We have already covered how they get the power into the jump so as they do this more and more the momentum builds and not only the speed but also the distance covered will increase.
The biggest and largest species of kangaroo is the red kangaroo is also the world’s largest marsupial, so where better to discuss the distance covered than with them.
Red kangaroos are able to reach up to a staggering 40 miles per hour, this allows them to gain an insane amount of momentum, the average jump is 25 to 30 feet which is incredibly far for a single bound.
The record for the longest jump made by a single jump was set by a red kangaroo in 1951 where it was able to leap an incredible 42 feet.
From a standing position kangaroos can only jump around seven feet.
This same idea is applied when we discuss how high a kangaroo can jump.
A red kangaroo can jump 10 feet into the air at full tilt with maximum momentum, much like with the distance covered the standing jump of a kangaroo is less impressive coming in at just under seven feet into the air.
Why Do They Jump?
We have covered why it is a good idea to jump around but what specific advantages does it give the kangaroo that just running would not?
Jumping lets the kangaroo build up a very impressive speed and in turn increase the lengths of their jump.
This is different to other animals who will build up the amount of strides rather than the length of it.
Despite the kangaroo jumping with both legs together they can still turn on a dime remarkably well.
The kangaroo has the ability to use one foot to pivot its direction, allowing it to turn around completely in just a single hop.
Out Running Predators
The hope allows them to store their stamina as they are traveling large distances without the cost of constant movement.
Covering big distances without expending energy allows the kangaroo to easily outlast their predators in the dingo, wild dog and fox.
The kangaroo is one of the planet’s most unique animals in many different ways, but its method of movement is perhaps its most peculiar.
Hopefully you have learnt why the kangaroo chooses to hop around and some of the staggering distances that they can cover when they get up to their also amazingly high top speed.
So next time you are driving along and happen upon a kangaroo in the distance just keep in mind that these marsupials may as well be professional long jumpers and their next target may well be your windshield so always ensure that you keep your distance no matter how cute they look not only for their safety but also for yours.