Kangaroo Facts

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Some Things About The Kangaroo You Probably Do Not Know

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On the Australian coat of arms the Emu and the Kangaroo were selected as symbols of Australia to represent the country progress because they are always moving forward and never move backwards.

Kangaroos are the largest marsupial mammals. They belong to the  Macropodidae family.

Kangaroo moves by hopping on its hind legs using its tail for steering and balancing while hopping at speed up to 40mph/60kmh. When kangaroo is moving slowly the tail is used as an extra leg and supports the kangaroo when it is standing on its hind legs. Most kangaroos can only move both back legs together and not one at a time.

Kangaroos are found in Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. They are grazing animals that eat grass, young shoots and leaves of heath plants and grass trees. Kangaroos need very little water to survive and are capable of going for months without drinking at all.

A male kangaroo is called a buck. It is also commonly called a "boomer" or an "old man". A female kangaroo is called a doe, or a flyer. A baby kangaroo is called a joey.

Kangaroos have good eyesight but only respond to moving objects. They have excellent hearing and can swivel their large ears in all directions to pick up sounds.

Kangaroos are social animals that live in groups or "mobs" of at least two or three individuals and up to 100 kangaroos.

Kangaroos usually have one young annually.  The joey remains in the pouch for nine months and continues to suckle until twelve to seventeen months of age. Kangaroos can have 3 babies at one time. One becoming mature and just out of the pouch, another developing in the pouch and one embryo in pause mode. There are 4 teats in the pouch and each provides different milk for the different stages of development.

Kangaroo Facts and Figures

Common name Scientific name Height Weight
Eastern Grey  Macropus giganteus 3 - 8ft (0.9 - 2.4m) 40 - 200 lbs (18 - 95kg)
Red kangaroo Macropus Rufus 3 - 9ft (0.9 - 2.7m) 40 - 150 lbs (18 - 70kg)
Western Grey Macropus fuliginosus 3 - 7ft (0.9 - 2.1m) 63 - 120lbs (28 - 54kg)

Eastern Grey 

Red kangaroo

Western Grey

Sometimes known as the "Forester" the Eastern grey kangaroo is the heaviest marsupial in the world. Males are larger than females (rarely exceed 45kg).

Eastern grey kangaroo lives in small groups but may congregate in large numbers when feeding. It is usually active from late afternoon until early morning, resting in the shade of trees and shrubs during the day. Strong, muscular legs propel the animal across the grasslands at speeds of 40 mph (60kmh). They are able to cleared lengths of 25 feet (8 meters) and heights of 9 feet (3 meters).

Eastern grey kangaroos generally give birth to one infant at a time but twins have been reported. A single young weighing less than 0.35oz (1gr) is born after a pregnancy of 36 days. The joey leaves the pouch for short periods in about nine months of age, but continues to be suckled until it is about 18 months of age.

Red kangaroo is the largest marsupial in the world.

The female is often called the "blue flyer" because of her blue-grey fur. In the eastern part males are usually red (pale red to brick red) and females a bluish grey, elsewhere, both sexes may be reddish/brown.

Red kangaroos normally move in groups ("mobs") ranging from a few dozen to several hundred animals. The Red kangaroo mob usually consists of a dominant male, a number of adult females, and juveniles of both sexes.

Red kangaroo females are sexually mature at about eighteen months, males at about two years. Red kangaroo joeys remain in the pouch for 5-6 months. Over a period of 2-3 months they gradually spend more time away from the pouch usually weaned by one year of age, but normally remain close to the mother for another 6 months.

Western grey kangaroo looks much like the Eastern grey kangaroo, and for many years was treated as subspecies. They vary in color, being anywhere from greyish-brown to chocolate brown. The muzzle is covered in fine hair.  The western group is slender and greyish-brown in color, and the southern group is stockier and brown in color with bluish-grey underpants.

Western grey kangaroo males are known as stinkers due to their strong, curry-like smell.

Western grey kangaroos are the very vocal. The mothers communicate to the joeys with a series of clicks.

Western grey kangaroos have no particular breeding season, although most joeys are born in the summer.

Western grey kangaroo is related to the Eastern grey and Red kangaroos.

Kangaroo habitat facts

Eastern grey kangaroo estimate population in 1996 was 10'000'000
Eastern grey kangaroo habitat

Eastern grey kangaroos distributed throughout most of the eastern third of the Australian continent, especially along the coast in damp forest and scrub.  It has increased in numbers since European settlement due to  pasture improvement, and the provision of watering points for stock.

Red kangaroo estimate population in 1996 was 10'000'000
Red kangaroo habitat

Red kangaroos are distributed throughout inland Australia and occupy mixed habitats of open shrub lands, grasslands, malee scrubs, Mulga country, and desert absent from the wetter areas of eastern, northern and south-western Australia.

Western grey kangaroo estimate population in 1996 was 3'000'000
Western grey kangaroo habitat

Western grey kangaroos inhabit 60% of western and southern Australia. The southern group can be found in South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales. They live in woodlands, open forests, coastal heath land, open grassland, scrubland and also can be found on city outskirts and golf courses.

Kangaroo numbers are increasing throughout Australia. They are now found in greater numbers than prior European settlement due to provision of pasture and additional water points. Since the extermination of its natural predator, the Tasmanian wolf, and because of its rapid reproductive abilities this animal has overpopulated.

Kangaroo feeding facts

 All kangaroos have a chambered stomach similar to cattle and sheep. They regurgitate the vegetation they have eaten, chew it as cud, and then swallow it again for final digestion. The Red kangaroo grazes during the night on a wide variety of grasses and low herbaceous plants, though sometimes this grazing period starts late evening and ends early morning When water is available it will drink but, if it obtains sufficient green food, it does not need to do so. Western grey kangaroos feed mostly on grass but will browse upon certain native shrubs. They are strictly herbivorous and use microorganisms in the caecum to break down the cellulose of these plants. They can survive on plants high in fiber but low in nitrogen, and require very little water. 
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