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12 Animals That Jump or Hop (How High They Jump)

Animals have different modes of transportation, from slithering and flying to swimming and jumping. Their abilities help them survive in the wild, especially when catching prey or escaping predators. You may be surprised to learn that not all animals that jump or hop have powerful leg muscles. There are various ways they can propel themselves forward. Read on to learn details!

12 animals that jump or hop

Here is a list of 12 animals that jump or hop, including a species that can leap 200 times their body length!

1. Copepod

copepod with eggs | image by Kat Masback via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific subclass: Copepoda

Copepods are tiny crustaceans ranging from 0.02 to 0.08 inches long. They can be found in almost every saltwater and freshwater habitat. Despite their size, they are one of the most powerful jumpers in the animal kingdom.

When jumping, these crustaceans can reach speeds of 500 body lengths per second. Their series of small jumps occur when they repeatedly beat their swimming legs. They use this ability to avoid predators, such as herring, mackerel, and jellyfish.

2. Mountain lion

Scientific name: Puma concolor

Mountain lions are strong and fast predators that also have impressive jumping abilities. Although they are 200 pounds, they can jump 15 feet up a tree and, from a sitting position, leap forward 18 feet. With a running start, these big cats can leap 45 feet in a single jump. These skills let them easily hunt deer, coyotes, raccoons, and elk.

3. Red kangaroo

Scientific name: Macropus rufus

Red kangaroos are the largest kangaroo species, with adult males weighing almost 200 pounds and standing over 5 feet tall. With their powerful hind legs, they can clear 30 feet in a single jump and reach heights of almost 11 feet. Kangaroos are also the only large animal that hops as their main way of transportation.

4. Dolphin

Scientific family: Delphinidae

If you’ve ever been dolphin watching, you’ve probably seen these incredible sea-mammals jumping out of the water. They do this to see the coastline for navigation or view distant things in the water, such as prey. Some species can breach out of the water at heights of 15 to 30 feet. Dolphins can also swim at 25 miles per hour and are commonly seen jumping alongside ships or boats.

5. Brown hares

Scientific name: Lepus europaeus

Brown hares have incredible jumping powers, covering 18 feet in one leap. Their athleticism doesn’t stop there, as they can also reach speeds of 45 miles per hour and are famous for their boxing skills. You’ll see these hares on their hind legs when females fight away males during the breeding season.

6. Grasshoppers

Scientific suborder: Caelifera

Grasshoppers have powerful hind legs that let them leap 16 or 23 feet – that’s 20 times their body length! Although they will commonly jump away from danger, they also hop to get a boost before spreading their wings and flying.

Their legs act as miniature catapults to launch them forward since a cuticle in their knee stores up potential energy and acts as a spring. When they are ready to hop, they relax their leg muscles, so the spring releases energy and catapults them.

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7. Tree frog

American green treefrog

Scientific name: Hylidae

Frogs with longer legs, such as the tree frog, use their leg tendons to launch them forward. They actually don’t have powerful leg muscles, contrary to popular belief. Instead, their tendons stretch, so the muscles shorten and transfer energy into the tendon before a jump. Once the frog jumps, the tendon recoils like a spring. Most tree frogs can cover over 5 feet.

8. Kangaroo rat

image by Saguaro National Park via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific genus: Dipodomys

Kangaroo rats look similar to ordinary rats but get their name from their incredible ability to jump and hop on their hind legs. Their large hind legs propel their body through the air up to 9 feet in one jump. They are also quite acrobatic, being able to change direction mid-leap, allowing them to evade the strike of a snake.

9. Jumping spider

Scientific family: Salticidae

There are over 6,380 species of jumping spiders worldwide. They can jump up to 6.3 inches, which is far considering their size ranges between 0.08 and 0.87 inches.

They use their ability to jump away from danger or catch prey. Instead of spinning webs to trap prey, these spiders stalk and leap onto their next meal. They will spin silk to create an anchor before they jump to stabilize themselves and have protection for landings.

10. Flea

image credit: Olha Schedrina / The Natural History Museum | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 4.0

Scientific order: Siphonaptera

Fleas are one of the best jumpers in the world when you consider their size. Adult fleas are around 0.04 to 0.13 inches long but can jump up to 13 inches – that’s 200 times their own body length! These blood-drinking insects use this ability to leap from host to host. They are also rather strong since they can lift things 150 times heavier than their body weight.

11. Mountain goat

Scientific name: Oreamnos americanus

Mountain goats are nimble-footed and powerful animals that can jump almost 12 feet in a single leap. Sometimes you can see them jumping from one cliff edge to another. They can also scale cliffs with over 60-degree inclines.

They use their hooves’ hard outer case to dig into ledges and maintain balance during their climbs. You can only find these animals in North America, mostly around the Rocky Mountains. Despite their name, they’re also not goats but are part of the antelope family.

12. Gazelle

Grant’s gazelle – savanna

Scientific genus: Gazella

Another animal in the antelope family is the gazelle that also has an impressive jumping ability. They can leap over 10 feet in the air. These animals will repeatedly jump in the air with backs arched and all four legs held stiff, an action called stotting or pronking. They typically stot before bolting into a run when a predator approaches.