Red Kangaroo (Macropus Rufus)
The red kangaroo (Macropus rufus) is the largest of all kangaroos, the largest mammal native to Australia, and the largest extant marsupial. It is found across mainland Australia, avoiding only the more fertile areas in the south, the east coast, and the northern rain forests.
This species is a very large kangaroo with long, pointed ears and a squared-off muzzle. Males have short, red-brown fur, fading to pale buff below and on the limbs. Females are smaller than males and are blue-grey with a brown tinge, pale grey below, although arid zone females are coloured more like males. It has two forelimbs with small claws, two muscular hind-limbs, which are used for jumping, and a strong tail which is often used to create a tripod when standing upright.
The red kangaroo’s legs work much like a rubber band, with the Achilles tendon stretching as the animal comes down, then releasing its energy to propel the animal up and forward, enabling the characteristic bouncing locomotion. The males can leap over 9 m (30 ft) in one leap.
Males grow up to a head-and-body length of 1.3–1.6 m (4.3–5.2 ft) with a tail that adds a further 1–1.2 m (3.3–3.9 ft) to the total length. Females are considerably smaller, with a head-and-body length of 85–105 cm (33–41 in) and tail length of 65–85 cm (26–33 in). Females can weigh from 18 to 40 kg (40 to 88 lb), while males typically weigh around twice as much at 55 to 85 kg (121 to 187 lb). The average red kangaroo stands approximately 1.5 m (4.9 ft) tall to the top of the head in upright posture. Large mature males can stand more than 1.8 m (5.9 ft) tall, with the largest confirmed one having been around 2.1 m (6.9 ft) tall and weighed 91 kg (201 lb). Accounts of sizes greater than this are not uncommon, with some reportedly reaching a weight of approximately 150 kg (330 lb).
The red kangaroo maintains its internal temperature at a point of homeostasis about 36 °C (97 °F) using a variety of physical, physiological, and behavioural adaptations. These include having an insulating layer of fur, being less active and staying in the shade when temperatures are high, panting, sweating, and licking its forelimbs.
The red kangaroo’s range of vision is approximately 300°, due to the position of its eyes.
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