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How high can mammals jump?

by Leana Kell

How high can mammals jump?

Most mammals were born with the ability to jump. As humans, we regularly practice the art of jumping throughout our daily lives. Whether its jumping onto a bus, or down a flight of steps, many of us cannot crush the urge to use the talent we've been given and jump!

Below, Beemat takes a look at the art of vertical jumping amongst mammals currently living on our planet and which mammals can jump the highest.

How high can humans jump?

Let's first consider the human jump capacity. Currently, the highest 'standing' jump is 1.616 metres or 5.3 foot and was achieved by a Canadian man named Evan Ungar in Oakville, Ontario, Canada on 13 May 2016. Evan broke the world record in front of 100 of his colleagues and friends at a health club in Oakville and you can watch the video for yourself by clicking here.

There is also the art of high jump whereby athletes practice high jumping over a bar suspended nearly 8 feet off the ground. The world record for high jump has gradually increased over the past 100 years, but it is now showing signs of slowing down as competitive high jumpers approach the human body's biological limits. Javier Sotomayor from Cuba is the current men's  high jump world record holder with a jump of 2.45m set in 1993, but most average humans can only jump a fraction of this height.

How high can whales jump?

Whales are the largest mammals on the planet. When whales jump completely out of the water it is referred to as 'breaching'. It is difficult to offer a precise height for a whale jump because they tend to avoid humans when living in the wild, but it is known that a killer whale, or orca, can jump between 10 and 15 feet out of the water. One of the highest whale jumps caught on film is that of an orca jumping 15 feet while chasing a dolphin.

How high can kangeroos jump?

Kangeroo legs cannot move independently of one another so they are restricted to a bounding gait. This gait not only allows them to jump high distances, but also to cover jumps of up to 25 feet in one single leap.  Kangeroos have been known to jump as high as 6 feet in one single jump, and they can reach phenomenal speeds of over 35 miles per hour. This is all down to their Achilles tendon which is responsible for stretching and releasing the energy needed for the forward propelling motion.

How high can Tigers jump?

Tigers are the king of high jumpers, jumping heights of well over 10 feet at a time. They can also spring vertically up to heights of 20 feet when in full flight. In fact, animal experts still remain undecided about just how high a tiger can jump because each time a high jump record is set, another tiger breaks it. Tigers in captivity have been known to jump as high as 12 to 15 feet in the air, but like most animals, they do not perform at their absolute limit unless there is a desperate need to do so.

How high can Coyotes jump?

Coyotes are incredible athletes and very smart with it too. Most Coyotes can high jump a 5 foot fence, and some can even manage to scale a 6-8 ft height. Coyotes are also very adept at climbing so if held in captivity they require a 6 foot tall fence topped with a wire extender set at a 45-degree angle in order to ensure visitors remain safe.

Elephants can't jump

Sadly, there are some mammals that do not possess the ability to jump. An elephant is one of the larger mammals that is unable to jump and this boils down to one simple reason - it doesn't have to. Most jumpy mammals such as kangeroos or a monkeys rely on jumping to escape predators, but elephants keep themselves safe in other ways, relying on their huge size and protective social groups. Other mammals that can't jump are sloths, hippos and rhinos, although unlike elephants, hippos and rhinos can have all four feet off the ground at the same time when they run.


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