From Exploring Nature:

They cannot jump backward because of their thick, muscular tail. Their long feet and heavy tail also make walking impossible, forward or backward.

The Australian 'Coat of Arms' features an Emu and a Kangaroo:

Coat of Arms Source

Some say the kangaroo and emu were chosen to symbolise a nation moving forward. This is based on the common belief that neither animal can move backwards easily.

My question:
Can kangaroos walk backwards?
Is walking backwards just difficult for them or is it anatomically impossible?

  • 3
    As well as being skeptical that they can move backwards, I'm skeptical as to whether that was the reason they were chosen.
    – Golden Cuy
    May 24, 2011 at 22:55
  • 1
    @Andrew - Since it's only 100 years old I also find it strange that it's not known.
    – Oliver_C
    May 25, 2011 at 10:04

1 Answer 1


Kangaroos cannot move backwards easily. But they do it while fighting (YouTube, 0:35 is particularly clear where one is jumping backwards away from another).

  • 3
    +1 for visual evidence. It looks like kangaroos depend on their tail when walking backwards. They basically use it like a "third leg".
    – Oliver_C
    May 25, 2011 at 9:57

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