How Fast Can A Kangaroo Really Go?

Nature's majesty is nothing to us if it isn't drenched in hot, nasty speed. The quicker the animal, the greater its chances of receiving public adoration. The cheetah can run up to 75 miles an hour and as a result, humans just handed them the Cheetos franchise. The dwarf seahorse, on the other hand, moves mere inches per hour, and as a result, will never star in its own Sega Genesis game.

What, then, of the kangaroo? Is it speedy and sultry? Evolution's own Fast and the Furious spin-off series? Or is it a beast undeserving of our love on account of its unimpressive gait, like a box tortoise or the Judy Dench character from Cats? Let us explore these wonders from down under and the velocities they call home.

More like kanga-vroom, am I right?

First off, for clarity's sake, we should point out that there are several different species of kangaroo, and lumping them all together would be doing a disservice to these noble creatures. Let's look at the two most common members of the family: the red kangaroo and the majestic Eastern Grey. Both of these creatures can comfortably hop at around 15 miles per hour, but according to National Geographic, they've been clocked moving upwards of 40 mph in short bursts when the occasion calls for it. They can also jump as far as 25 feet in a single bound, which is 24 feet further than most kids make it when they say "Look how far I can jump," and what's more, kangaroos don't even brag about it.

And then you've got your other kangaroos. Your outlier kangaroos. The dreamers and the schemers, like Bennett's wallaby. It's a compact model marsupial, standing at just over a meter high. Per the Smithsonian, they only ever achieve a land speed of nine miles an hour, granting them roughly the same mile time as a grandparent on the freeway who refuses to give up their driver's license.

But how fast can a kangaroo go?

Of course, that only answers the question "How fast can a kangaroo move on foot?" But how fast can a kangaroo go? That depends. If a kangaroo managed to board the Parker Solar Probe, which was recently named the fastest moving man made object in history, it could top 153,000 miles an hour. If a kangaroo was the iron cap propelled into the atmosphere by the U.S. Government's underground nuclear test on August 27th, 1957, it would go 125,000 miles per hour. If a kangaroo got stuck in a vat of oatmeal, it wouldn't be able to go very fast at all.

The current water speed record is held by a specialized speedboat known as The Spirit of Australia, meaning that, in a fair world, it would have been piloted by a kangaroo. If it had been, then on October 8th, 1978, a kangaroo would have skipped across the Tumut River in New South Wales at roughly 317 miles per hour. If a koala had been piloting the boat, it would have gone nowhere, because koalas' arms are too short to reach the controls and they'd probably just fall asleep anyway, the little darlings.

No, but how fast though?

Let's carry this argument to its logical conclusion. Let's say a Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home scenario took place in which a mysterious space probe appeared in Earth's orbit, evaporating the oceans and disabling the planet's power grid. Let's further assume that the only way to communicate with the enigmatic space capsule was to go back in time and rescue now-extinct kangaroos, which share a linguistic common denominator with the signal being broadcast by the probe. A ragtag group of Federation exiles, once considered heroes, would be sent into Earth's distant past on a commandeered Klingon Bird of Prey, utilizing a method known as "the Slingshot Maneuver" in which their craft would combine transwarp speeds with the powerful gravitational pull of a star to move outside of the normal flow of time. In order to return, the kangaroo would need to go at speeds beyond warp 9.8, or more than 8.48 trillion kilometers per hour.

The final frontier

If a kangaroo had been in Al Cowlings' white Ford Bronco with O.J. Simpson during his June 17th, 1994 car chase with Los Angeles police, it would only go about 35 miles per hour.

If you take into account the speed at which the earth is spinning, every kangaroo is going around 460 meters per second, according to Scientific American.

If a kangaroo worked for Jimmy Johns, it would go freaky fast. 

So you see, there are really no limits to the velocity of kangaroos.

Life is all about perspective.