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Can Kangaroos Jump Backwards?

We all know that kangaroos can jump forwards, but can kangaroos jump backwards? This question has a lot of complexity about how kangaroos have evolved to move so quickly to begin with.

This all comes down to the unique evolution of the kangaroo’s legs and their tail that allow them to move forward with great speed and agility, but prevent them from moving backwards at all.

Kangaroos can’t jump backwards because they’re massive tails get in the way. They need these muscular tails to act as a counterbalance when the kangaroo is sprinting forward at full speed.

Kangaroos can also balance on their tails as a way to appear taller and get a better look around their environment.

The way that the kangaroo’s legs and tail have evolved also prevent it from walking which might seem like the kangaroo has a very limited style of movement, but there are actually some ways that the kangaroo has for getting around that don’t involve jumping.

Kangaroos have developed a special kind of locomotion called crawl walking as a way to get around when they don’t want to spend as much energy as jumping would require.

They typically use this type of movement when foraging for food and as a way to move to and from locations that are close to each other while conserving energy.

Let’s take a closer look at all the different ways a kangaroo has to move any interesting facts to prevent a kangaroo from being able to jump backwards.

Can Kangaroos Jump Backwards?

Kangaroos are some of the most impressive marsupials out there. Kangaroos are the largest land animals in Australia, and they can top 43 mph when they’re running at their fastest.

However, everything about the kangaroo is designed for forward momentum which means that they cannot go backwards. If a kangaroo needs to go backwards, it’s going to have to stop and turn around.

This all comes down to one big biological fact about the kangaroo. That massive tail behind the kangaroo gives it a lot of advantages out in the wild. The biggest thing is that the kangaroo uses its tail to balance when traveling at high speeds.

The extra weight of the tail helps the kangaroo while leaping forward by balancing out the weight and center of gravity of this marsupial.

That tail also prevents the kangaroo from jumping backwards. It’s the sheer size of the tail that prevents the kangaroo from being able to jump in reverse. Its legs are also only designed to jump in a forward movement.

Kangaroos are capable of hopping slightly back words to lean on to their tails, but this is more of a backwards lean than it is any kind of a jump.

Why Can’t Kangaroos Walk Backwards?

If kangaroos can’t jump backwards, can they walk backwards? As it turns out, kangaroos can’t move backwards at all. This comes down to two big factors about kangaroo biology.

Kangaroos both can’t jump backwards because of the way their legs have evolved in addition to their massive tails, and they can’t walk backwards because as it turns out, kangaroos can’t walk at all. Let’s take a moment to look at how a kangaroo gets around its environment.

Kangaroos have two basic kinds of movement and those are jumping and crawl walking. Jumping is how a kangaroo is going to be getting around most of the time because this is the fastest and most effective way the kangaroo has to move. Kangaroos are faster than even the quickest Olympic sprinters could ever hope of being.

Jumping is an incredibly effective way for the kangaroo to escape predators and move around its environment. When it doesn’t need to expend all that energy, kangaroos can get around by crawl walking.

Crawl walking is a type of movement that we will discuss in detail in just a second, but for now it’s enough to know that this isn’t really a type of walking, and it’s also not a type of crawling. It’s a unique type of movement that only kangaroos seem to display.

In fact, if you watch a video of a kangaroo crawl walking it’ll look a lot closer to a chimpanzee moving on all fours than it will another type of marsupial crawling around.

Can Kangaroos Walk Without Jumping?

If you haven’t spent a lot of time around kangaroos in the wild, you might think that their only way of moving is jumping. After all, kangaroos are not capable of walking or running which means that it might look like that their only way of getting around is hopping.

However, kangaroos have a specially-adapted kind of movement called crawl walking which they use to get around.

Kangaroos don’t always have to hop when they need to move from place to place. In fact, hopping isn’t the best way to get around when you need to go short distances very slowly.

Kangaroos use crawl walking to get around when they’re trying to forage for food or just make smaller movements that don’t need them to expend much energy. Here’s how crawl walking works.

Crawl walking works by having the kangaroo get on all fours and then crawl forward much in the same way that a human baby would crawl. However, the kangaroo is a little bit awkward when it’s trying to do this crawl walking style of movement.

There’s a reason why kangaroos prefer to hop around as crawl walking has very limited mobility and is only used for small movements during feeding or when the kangaroo just needs to move around its habitat.


Answering “Can kangaroos jump backwards?” it’s a lot more complicated than it might look on the surface. Kangaroos are not capable of jumping backwards or walking backwards and this is because of the way that their legs have evolved to make them some of the fastest land animals on the planet. Kangaroos don’t always have to hop around, but when they need to use their crawl walking style of mobility they’re going to be limited in terms of their speed and their agility.