Jumping Ability of Mammals

Jumping Ability of Mammals

Obtaining accurate records for the jumping ability of most animals is quite difficult, since, aside: from man, few animals vie with each other in this type of physical labor for the mere pleasure of winning.

The figures are given in the following table: do not necessarily represent the maximum possible jump for the species concerned, but rather the approximate distances which one or more of the species have been known to jump, either by actual measurement or by estimates of competent observers. It is unfortunate that records of this type are so incomplete.

SpeciesHorizontal Jump Distance (feet)Vertical Jump Distance (feet)Remarks
Deer8 to 10Deer have been known to jump fences 8 feet high from a standing start.
Elk8 to 10Deer have been known to jump fences 8 feet high from a standing start.
Impala (a type of grazelle found in Africa)30 to 408 to 10Actual measurements of close to 30 feet for a horizontal jump are recorded, and it is believed that the 40-foot mark may be frequently reached.
Jack rabbits23 to 25One antelope jack rabbit made a measured jump of 23 feet 4 inches when shot
Jerboa pouched mice6 to 7An Australian animal resembling rats and mice, but possessing very elongated legs and a pouch for carrying the young
Jerboas12 to 153 to 4Ratlike rodents with elongated hind legs, found principally in Africa. The body is 4 to 5 inches long.
Kangaroos25 to 309 to 10Individual kangaroos which were being pursued have been known to jump a fence 9 feet in height.
Kangaroo Mice8 to 10These rodents possess elongated hind legs, and a body length of about 3 inches. They occur in Canada and the northern United States.
Pocket Rats9 to 12These rats have a body length of 4 to 5 inches and are found in western and south-western United States.
Klipspringer25A small antelope found in most moun-tainous areas of Africa. Stands about 20 inches at the shoulder and weighs some 40 pounds.
Leopard8 to 10Leopards have been reported as jumping to a rock 1 o feet high while carrying prey weighing ¾ as much as themselves.
Lion8 to 10Lions are reported to have cleared thorn fences 6 to 7 feet high carrying prey almost as heavy as them-selves. This feat has been doubted by some biologists.
Man26 ft. 81/4 in 6 ft. 11 in.As per official world records.
Rat kangaroos8These creatures belong to the same group as the larger kangaroos, but are much smaller.

Some mammals not included in the table and on which I have not seen any data are probably excellent jumpers. The well-trained hunting horse is said to jump between 33 and 37 feet when it has to clear a fence or ditch, but I have not confirmed these figures to my entire satisfaction.

The possible 25-foot vertical jump of the klipspringer is the figure in the table most deserving of consideration. A female and a youngster about two-thirds grown were seen to attain the top of a rocky pedestal the sides of which sloped outward from the bottom to the top.

The only possible way that the animals could have gained access to the top was from the ground, 25 feet below. The observers were so located that they could see the animals as they landed on top, but they could not see the complete jump.

Klipspringers are well known for their ability to scramble up almost perpendicular cliffs, using very small projections as footholds. In this case, an unnoticed intermediate foothold may have been used.  At any rate, I would put my money on the klipspringer against all comers in a high-jumping contest.

It is needless to point out that the world record jumps for man are considerably in excess of those that could he made by the average person. Even many trained athletes would have difficulty in approaching these figures, while the floundering efforts of untrained human beings can well be imagined.