Ever Wonder If Emus And Kangaroos Can Walk Backwards? I Didn’t, Until…

Picture of an emu and a kangaroo with the text that says Emus and kangaroos cannot walk backwards, and are on the Australian coat of arms for that reason.

I saw this and wondered if it could be true.

I’m reading a travel book about Australia right now called In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson, and am most of the way through it but haven’t seen anything about this.

Picture of the book cover for In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson that shows a kangaroo and baby in Australia.Emus and kangaroos not being able to walk backwards seems like the quirky kind of thing that Bill Bryson would put into a travel book but… maybe I haven’t quite gotten to that part yet or something.

I certainly have gotten to plenty of parts about deadly and otherwise dangerous things that naturally creep, swim, and crawl in various parts of Australia though. *shudders*

Okay so where were we? Oh yeah, could it really be true that the emu and kangaroo are on the Australian coat of arms because they can’t walk backwards? And are they even on the coat of arms at all?

To the Wikimobile!

Turns out that yes there is an emu and a kangaroo on the Australian coat of arms , a kangaroo on the left and an emu on the right and both of them are holding up the shield.

According to Wikipedia the red kangaroo and the emu are both ‘unofficial emblems of the nation’ because they’re the most well-known animals that are native to Australia and Australia only.

An old picture of the Australian coat of arms that has an emu and a kangaroo holding up a shield and the words Advance Australia under it.I do have bad news though, both the emu and kangaroo can move backwards. Okay maybe that’s not bad news for emu and kangaroos lol but yes they can move backwards.

It’s just that they don’t walk backwards very often so apparently it’s become a commonly held belief that they can’t walk backwards because of that.

So there you have it: emus and kangaroos can move backwards, forwards, sideways, and apparently also hold up shields.

June 2, 2013