Strength and Agility Are Important
Strength and agility are two of the most important qualities for human athletes. Many human champions take pride in their ability to lift great amounts of weight. The strongest human can lift about two times his own weight. But, as you will see, some animals can do even better than that. For example, there are insects that can lift 50 times their own weight.
With a pole to help them, some humans can jump as high as 20 feet—about three times their own height. But there is an insect that can do 66 times better than that, without using a pole!
When it comes to diving, the deepest that any human has gone is about 300 feet—on one breath and with no swim fins. And the longest that any person has held his breath underwater is 22 minutes. But there is an air-breathing mammal that can dive far deeper and hold its breath much longer.
For its size, the common flea is the greatest jumper of them all. It can jump 200 times its own height.
Some of the best divers of all air-breathing animals are the sperm whales. These enormous mammals of the sea may dive two miles below the ocean’s surface. And while they’re underwater, they may hold their breath almost two hours!
Chimpanzees are only about half as tall as humans, but they are three times stronger. They can lift six times their own body weight.
Leaf-cutter ants can lift and carry 50 times their own weight—and they do it with their jaws.
The tiny kangaroo rat is named for its jumping ability. It is actually a better jumper than the gray kangaroo. The gray kangaroo jumps 8 times the length of its body—but the kangaroo rat can jump 48 times its own length.
The high-jumping champion of the cat family is the puma. One of these magnificent cats was seen jumping 18 feet straight up in the air.
The strongest land animal of all is the Asian elephant. It can lift more than 2,000 pounds with its trunk. And it can drag a load weighing over 20,000 pounds.
In one hop, a gray kangaroo can jump a distance of 44 feet. And when it really gets going, it can leap more than 11 feet off the ground.