1. Homepage
  2. »
  3. Blog
  4. »
  5. 6 Animals That Can’t Jump (Detailed Guide)

6 Animals That Can’t Jump (Detailed Guide)

two hippos resting a the water

6 Animals That Can’t Jump (Detailed Guide)

While some animals jump in celebration, others jump only when scared. On the other hand, many predators go for their prey by jumping at it.

For most species, jumping might not be a big deal. 

However, there are also animals that can’t jump because they don’t have the strength and agility necessary for this action.

Some animals have weighty bodies that can’t be lifted from the ground. Others are entirely devoid of the muscular tissue or limbs required to jump.

As a result, animals without the ability to jump developed to survive without taking this action. They have discovered many innovative means of self-preservation, but more about these means in the following article.

Let’s find out more about six animals that are unable to jump.

List of Animals that Can’t Jump

  • Elephants
  • Tortoises
  • Hippos
  • Sloths
  • Rhinos
  • Snakes


an elephant standing on its hind legs

Scientific Name: Loxodonta
Type of Animal: Mammal
Range: Asia and Africa

The most renowned animals that can’t jump are elephants. These creatures are considered by many to be the only ones that can’t leap, but this is only a prevalent misconception.

The elephant is only the largest animal unable to jump because it is too heavy to lift its feet. In addition, all the elephant’s bones (unlike most mammals) are pointed downwards, resulting in an inability to separate from the ground. (source)

From this point of view, the elephant is not at all like the guinea pig, which is its distant cousin.

At birth, an elephant might weigh 260 pounds, and such a weight makes it too hefty for jumping. When fully grown, this enormous creature can reach 14,000 pounds.

But elephants have other unique traits of their own, including self-awareness. Only humans, dolphins, and apes possess self-awareness.

In addition, elephant tusks have a variety of purposes, from lifting and moving items to collecting food, defending the animal’s trunk, and even removing bark from trees. 

The tusks are not only dangerous defense weapons but also efficient survival tools, as they are also used to get subterranean water during droughts.

Elephants never go for frontal assaults. They instead group together and form a powerful protective ring of trunks and tusks. Calves always stand in the center.


big tortoise walking on a grass

Scientific Name: Testudinidae
Type of Animal: Reptile
Range: Worldwide (Except for Antarctica and Australia)

Given their lengthy lifespans and reputation for moving slowly, tortoises can be used as examples of patience and persistence. They are also among the world’s longest-living reptiles.

The tortoise cannot jump because it lacks the agility and speed needed for this action. For the same reasons, it can’t swim either. 

Tortoises can walk approximately 4 miles a day despite being very sluggish. Now, that’s a lesson in persistence!

Because their digestive system extracts every drop of water and nutrients from each mouthful, tortoises can survive in the most extreme conditions.

When it comes to self-defense, the tortoise uses its gular horns, which are an outgrowth of its plastron, or bottom shell as it’s sometimes called. 

The gular horn is a defensive mechanism for both female and male tortoises, although the male’s is bigger than the female’s, as well is often used when in combat with other male tortoises.

Tortoises win conflicts and battles by flipping rivals over with their gular horn. Of course, the enemy’s size is essential for this attack’s success. 


adult hippos feeding in a field

Scientific Name: Hippopotamus amphibius
Type of Animal: Mammal
Range: Africa

Hippos or hippopotamuses can’t jump because of their weight, much as elephants can’t either. Being super heavy, hippos are animals incapable of swimming too.

On the other hand, the heavy weight of hippos might come in handy when predators enter their area. Hippopotamuses are very protective of their territory, particularly when submerged in water. 

Intruders usually get grunts and honk from a hippo that feels threatened. When there’s danger, hippopotamuses use their bodies’ ramming power and sharp canine teeth to defend themselves.

If a hippopotamus seems to be yawning at you, then know it’s getting ready to honk and grunt. This is how this animal sends out threats before striking. 

These semi-aquatic giants use more than just their teeth to protect themselves – they also employ their enormous bodily bulk. 

In combat, a hippopotamus will not hesitate to strike adversaries with its head. When doing so, it sometimes lets out a menacing war cry.

Hippos are among the most violent creatures on Earth, even though they primarily feed on grass and plants. With their strong jaws, they can split a small boat in two, and they murder roughly 500 humans in Africa every year.

Related: Animals With no Teeth


sloth on a thin tree branch

Scientific Name: Folivora
Type of Animal: Mammal
Range: Central and South America

The sloth is one of the slowest moving creatures in the world. This specie may possess the necessary physical power to leap, but its slow movements prevent it from doing so.

The good news is that the skills of this animal are elsewhere. For example, all sloths have powerful upper bodies.

Because they spend almost their entire time hanging from trees, sloths develop incredibly powerful limbs and the firmest grasp. In fact, not even death can free a sloth from its branch.

Since there are so many predators that prey at the forest floor level, sloths seldom leave the trees from which they hang. They only descend to the forest floor for defecation, which happens only once weekly.

Sloths defend themselves through the art of camouflage. They hide in trees and don’t move until the danger is gone. Besides, they are also known for having fur that develops green algae. 

A sloth can move its head 360 degrees when looking for potential predators. Besides, it has mighty claws, so it can defend itself using violence.

Sloths have two noticeable front teeth that are very helpful when biting into food. They ground their food, which consists of tree leaves, with their other flat teeth. 

Being the slowest creatures on Earth, sloths must use their sharp nails and teeth when attacking predators for self-defense. 


big rhino standing on brown field

Scientific Name: Rhinocerotidae
Type of Animal: Mammal
Range: Asia and Africa

Only elephants are bigger than rhinoceroses, which are among the largest mammals on Earth. A rhino weighs 1,322-7,716 pounds, so it’s much too big to ever be able to pull itself from the ground.

Despite being so heavy, rhinos can run at 30-40 mph. A rhinoceroses herd is called a crash, and a crash will attack predators only if threatened.

Male rhinos are known to be solitary, so most collisions between a crash and predators involve only rhino mothers and their young.

Another curious thing about rhinoceroses is that they defecate at the exact same locations, which have been called latrines and are utilized for more than just providing a safe waste disposal place. Latrines are also used to sniff out any nearby rhinoceroses.

African rhinos can hurl and spear any animals they’ve impaled. Their horns are very useful in a fight and for self-defense. 

While Asian rhinos might not be as aggressive as their African counterparts, they still engage in combats, preferring to use their lower teeth and, more rarely, their horn.

Because rhinos have poor vision, they sometimes attack rocks and trees because they think these might pose a danger. However, these creatures possess great hearing and smell capabilities. 

Sometimes, they fight one another or attackers. And when this happens, they use one of their 2 snout horns that’s the biggest.


snake on the ground

Scientific Name: Serpentes
Type of Animal: Reptile
Range: Worldwide (Except for Antarctica)

Although snakes don’t have any legs, they still have very long bodies packed with muscles that allow them complete control over most movements they might be making.

A snake can propel itself forward with the help of its body’s muscles, but it can’t jump. Another inability of snakes is not hearing, as these animals have no external ears on their body.

Snakes can’t be scared off by loud noises. They are indeed “equipped” with internal ears, but these only help them preserve their balance.

Further, snakes also don’t blink because they have no eyelids. Their eye protection is ensured by spectacles, which shed when their skin sheds too.

The survival instinct is built-in for the snake, which quickly detects and perceives most threats so that it can safely flee from them. Snakes dodge attacks by sliding through water in quick, slicing motions. 

Besides, the most venomous snakes can kill their victim with only one bite.

After striking its victim, the snake hangs onto it and pulls it. In the event of massive prey and some snake species, it can pull the prey into itself.

Most snakes create a constriction coil by wrapping one or more loops around their victim. They will “keep an eye” on its heartbeat to determine whether the victim is dead.


Examples of animals that can’t jump include elephants, hippos, tortoises, rhinos, sloths, and snakes. And while they are unable to jump, this doesn’t mean they don’t have other means to respond to danger.

Elephants, for example, use their tusks and trunks to attack an enemy, whereas some snakes have a poisonous bite that can kill their attacker with just a few drops of venom.

So, there you go! Now that you’ve learned why some creatures cannot leap, you can understand why some consider them strange.

Animals that can’t jump surely are fascinating to study. Hopefully, this article presented you with a few facts about them that you weren’t aware of.  

Thank you for reading. If you liked this post, here’s another popular read: Animals With Worst Hearing.

Related articles