Can Kangaroos Walk Backward?


Kangaroos are well-built and robust creatures. The land of Australia is also well known due to these lovely creatures and has been feeling its challenging jumps for a long time. Everyone knows about their unique way of walking. They use hopping rather than walking to move, but a query is wandering on the internet, “Can kangaroos walk backward?”

Kangaroos are not able to walk or hop backward. The main reason behind this behavior is that there both legs are combined. This doesn’t allow them to move independently. Moreover, their big feet and long and weighty tail also make them unable to move backward. So, they move through hopping, which is also a cause of their unable to move backward.

This is also a reason why the Kangaroo symbol is present in the Australian flag. Through this icon, they are showing how eager they are to grow, even if they cannot step back.

It was a quick reply to the query. We will discuss the topic in-depth now. Stay steady and explore what you want.

Note: If you are thinking to ride a kangaroo, read our guide by clicking the hyperlink.

Why Kangaroos Can’t Walk Backward?

There is not a single reason for this. We will cover them one by one:


They have different kinds of feet with 4 toes and a single paw. With these vast feet, they can hop forward but not back. These huge feet help them survive in Australia’s hottest and most severe climate.


Their legs are combined. They use both legs at the same time to hop. With this strategy, they can jump forward and not backward.


They have long and muscular tails with a heavy weight. This also does not allow them to move backward.


The land of Australia is rocky. Without seeing back, walking backward on rocks is not suitable for any animal specie. They may fall and get some threatening injuries. So, nature favors them by disallowing them.

Can A Kangaroo Jump Backward?

Hopping or jumping are their modes of moving from one place to another but according to the topic, there is another answer to reveal. Yes, they can move or jump backward and they face no restrictions when they do it. Their tails help them in balance while tendons in their legs allow them to make sudden jumps.

Can Kangaroos Walk?

Kangaroos cannot walk but move forward by hopping. Usually, hopping is their primary way of movement. During hopping, they utilize their hind limbs to move around. They also can use their forelimbs to move. For example, they do this when they want to move politely, such as while grazing a pasture or crawling.

They use a fantastic technique when walking on their 4 legs. First, they shift their body weight on their forelimbs and lean on the ground. With the help of their tail, they balanced their body weight and tried to crawl slowly with the help of their hindlimbs. During crawling, they make a tripod-like figure.

Are you satisfied with this answer, or do you consider it abnormal walking? If you think that they will walk like a human. You’re wrong. They mainly use hopping as their primary source of locomotion.

Why Do Kangaroos Hop? (And Cannot Walk)

After all the above, there are other reasons why kangaroos don’t want and hop. The biggest reason is their evolution.

Their ancestors were today’s opossum-like animals. They mainly live on trees and have adapted to move on trees efficiently. On a day, they go down from the tree and try to walk on land. They have difficulty walking due to their vast feet. There the idea of hopping comes. They try to hop for movement, which is better than walking.

Why Do Kangaroos Hop?

From then, they started to evolve; today, kangaroos can move quickly by hopping. This method also helps them to consume low energy by which they can cover long distances without consuming most of their energy. A single sudden jump is enough to make them disappear from their predator’s eyes. They also can cross small rivers or canals in a single hop which also helps them to survive.

Can Kangaroos Run?

No, they are not able to run. Their legs cannot move one by one. Their legs are joined when they move. Due to this reason, they hop rather than walk. 

The hopping speed of kangaroos is about 44 mph and 71 kph. Usually, they can jump long distances at 16 or 17 mph speed. More than this speed, there one jump can cover 25 feet.

Can Kangaroos Run?

Kangaroos have a high body weight. Half of their total body weight is due to muscles in their body. This massive amount of muscles in the pelvis area and hind legs make their legs strong enough to jump higher distances.

So, their strong legs and tails enable them to jump long distances without getting tired and losing much more energy.

Other Animals That Can’t Walk Backward

Almost all kinds of animals can move in any direction, but few animals can not move backward. Rather than kangaroos, we will discuss other animals that can’t walk backward. So, let’s go:



The primary movement technique of penguins is not walking. They used the waddle technique to move from here to there. So, they cannot walk backward, but they can waddle backward. They do this due to the combining of kinetic energy and gravity. In short, they can shuffle both forward and backward but can’t walk on any side.


Emus is also a beautiful and famous creature from Australia. They are simply birds that are not able to fly. They are well known for their fast speed but cannot move backward. Their speed is due to their strong knee joints.


Alligators are also unique creatures. They have mainly two ways of motion. One is “Belly Walking,” and the other is “High Walk.”

During belly walks, their entire physique is attached to the land. Their full body weight is toward the ground, and it is not easy to walk in this condition, and walking backward is impossible.


“High Walk” is a walking condition of alligators when they walk at high speed. We can say that they run in this condition. So, they can’t move back during high-speed running but can walk backward at very low speeds.

To move backward, they need to uplift their whole body, including their tail, from the ground, which is difficult for these heavy creatures. So, they only do that for a short time, and they rarely do this.

Final Thoughts

Kangaroos are unique creatures and the favorite of people of Australia. I hope you get the answer to your query related kangaroo’s backward walk. Their jumping is not such as human jumping. When a human jumps, he uses an appropriate amount of muscular energy, but kangaroos have spring-like tendons in their hind limbs. These tendons provide them with enough flexibility and energy to make a desired jump.

Kangaroos are not born walkers. They have wide feet, which makes them unable to walk or run. They evolve the hopping adaptation to survive on land, which is also a great way of locomotion. These long-distance jumps enable them to cover massive land in no time without consuming much energy. Their keen senses, long and well-built hind limbs, and hopping technique make them well-suited for their environment.


Are kangaroos use their tail as their fifth leg?

Having five legs rather than 4 is an excellent feel for any animal. Kangaroos use their tail as their fifth leg. The researcher Shawn O’Connor said they do more work with their tail than humans do with their legs.

Why does Australia’s coat of arms contain the image of a kangaroo and emus?

Both never walk backward in their whole life. Australians also prefer to live a life with the same attitude. They always want to progress forward and don’t want to step backward.

Is it due to the tail a kangaroo cannot walk backward?

The tail is their fifth leg and is essential in their moving strategy. It helps them to maintain their body balance during the hop, but it is a muscly part of kangaroos’ bodies. So, it is also a cause why kangaroos can’t walk backward. Even they will fall during forward walking if they lose their tail.

Do kangaroos use tails to counterattack?

No, they usually use hind limbs for a counterattack. It is because their hindlimbs have many adaptations, such as solid mid-claws. They use their tail to stand before predators and allow their hindlimbs to counterattack.

Do kangaroos attack humans?

No, like other animals, they prefer to avoid humans, but if they feel any threat from us, they can counterattack with the help of their hind limbs.




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