Is it true that elephants can't jump? African elephant and calf walking, Masai Mara N.R, Kenya. (Anup Shah/Thinkstock)
Is it true that elephants can't jump?
Lexile

You asked us if it's true that elephants can't jump, and yes, it's true. Adult elephants just aren't built to jump because they often weigh 16,000 or more pounds. They're just too heavy to make the leap. 

Not only do they not jump, elephants never get all four feet off the ground at once, and that is even when they are charging at full speed. So, technically, I guess, elephants don't actually run, they power walk.

And why should they jump? The great leapers of the animal kingdom often evolved that skill as a way of avoiding predators, but nothing in an elephant's environment, at least in their recent evolutionary past, required them to hop around.

So, despite what you may have heard, believe me when I say, elephants are earthbound.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why did elephants never need to learn how to hop?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (62)
  • oscarb-1-bar
    4/14/2016 - 07:56 p.m.

    Elephants never needed to learn how to jump because they don't have predators to jump away from. They said, " Nothing in an elephant's environment, at least in their recent evolutionary past, required them to hop around." Elephants never had to jump because they are the biggest in their environment and other won't attack them unless they want to get trampled. Even running they don't leave all four feet. They just don't need to.

  • brianv-ver
    4/14/2016 - 09:00 p.m.

    Ya know, I was actually thinking about this a few days ago. We were doing some high jump stuff at track and I imagined what it would be like if animals were to do this. I thought about deer, and ostriches, but lastly I thought about elephants. And I was stuck in my mind for about 5 mins thinking about whether of not it was possible for elephants to jump. Thanks Tween Tribune!

  • aidanp-1-bar
    4/14/2016 - 09:20 p.m.

    Elephants never learned how to hop because they have no reason to. No animals that live around them are predators. Even if there was, where they live is flat landscape, still having no need for this attribute, like it says on paragraph. "And why should they jump? The great leapers of the animal kingdom often evolved that skill as a way of avoiding predators, but nothing in an elephant's environment, at least in their recent evolutionary past, required them to hop around."

    I liked this passage because it told me something I never knew before.

  • angelad-6-bar
    4/14/2016 - 09:27 p.m.

    Elephants never learned how to hop because no factor in elephants evolutionary past pushed for the ability to hop. Paragraph 3 "The great leapers of the animal kingdom often evolved that skill as a way of avoiding predators, but nothing in an elephant's environment, at least in their recent evolutionary past, required them to hop around." Hoping is known as a way of escaping predators and so the missing element of predators caused the elephant to never needed to acquire the ability to jump. I enjoyed this article because it is interesting to learn more about one of the most intelligent animals that are other then humans.

  • sheilah-6-bar
    4/14/2016 - 09:45 p.m.

    Elephants never needed to jump. The article states,"The great leapers of the animal kingdom often evolved that skill as a way of avoiding predators, but nothing in an elephant's environment, at least in their recent evolutionary past, required them to hop around." Elephants do not need any jumping skills. They are giant, and weight a lot, they are too heavy to jump. Elephants already survive without jumping, they do not need new skills of jumping. Elephants are perfectly normal the way they currently are. I found this article interesting because I never noticed that elephants couldn't jump.

  • calvinh-4-bar
    4/14/2016 - 10:03 p.m.

    Elephants never needed to learn how to hop because they didn't need to. "The great leapers of the animal kingdom often evolved that skill as a way of avoiding predators, but nothing in an elephant's environment, at least in their recent evolutionary past, required them to hop around," (paragraph 3) because of their large body and menacing tusks, as well as the predators in an elephant's environment
    I think a jumping elephant wouldn't be considered an elephant, but maybe some sort of branch off of an elephant that could possibly evolve even farther.

  • angelinat-3-bar
    4/14/2016 - 10:20 p.m.

    Elephants never learned about how to hop because their environments never required them to have that skill. The article says, "The great leapers of the animal kingdom often evolved that skill as a way of avoiding predators, but nothing in an elephant's environment, at least in their recent evolutionary past, required them to hop around." This shows that the elephants never needed to know how to jump, so they never have. I was interested in this article because I think elephants are cool animals. I was surprised by this article because I didn't know elephants weigh 16,000 pounds.

  • caitlynk-2-bar
    4/15/2016 - 12:45 a.m.

    Elephants never needed to learn how to hop because they don't need to avoid predators. Most animals that hop around are prey. According to the text, "(...)nothing in an elephant's environment, at least in their recent evolutionary past, required them to hop around." Elephants are not considered prey, therefore they don't need to jump. This article was interesting because I had no idea elephants could jump. This article surprised me because elephants are actually pretty fast so it is strange that they can't get all four feet off the ground at once.

  • tiffanyf-1-bar
    4/15/2016 - 01:07 a.m.

    Elephants never need to learn how to hop because there is nothing in its environment that threatens them enough that they would need to evolve. The article states,"The great leapers of the animal kingdom often evolved that skill as a way of avoiding predators, but nothing in an elephant's environment, at least in their recent evolutionary past, required them to hop around." Other animals like kangaroos and goats that are incredibly skilled at jumping need this adaptation to help them escape predators which in the long wrong, helps keep the whole population going. Since elephants have no natural predators, they do not have the need for the ability to hop, therefore, they never learn to. This article is interesting because I never realized, or even thought that certain animals could survive without knowing the basic movement of jumping.

  • noahf-3-bar
    4/15/2016 - 06:39 a.m.

    Nothing in their evolutionary path has required them to hop, to either escape from predators, or to catch prey. That is the reason elephants never need to learn how to hop. Even if they did learn how to hop they would be far too heavy to get very far off the ground.

    I found this article interesting because I never knew elephants weighed 16,000 pounds or more.

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