Red kangaroo (Macropus rufus). By Signature Message |
Red kangaroo (Macropus rufus). By Signature Message |

About the red kangaroo.

The red kangaroo is the largest existent marsupial and, therefore, the largest of all current kangaroo species.

The kangaroos hind legs are larger and stronger than the front ones. They use them to jump (they can cover a distance of up to 7 meters in just one jump or reach a height of 3 meters). Oddly enough, they cannot move these legs independently.

This animal’s tail is strong and muscular. They use it to lean back for balance and to push themselves forward when walking.

They are marsupials. The young emerges after 33 days (their legs grow first to be able to crawl up into the mother’s pouch). They remain there a few months, nursed by their mother’s milk, until they are well developed enough to leave the pouch.

They can reach a speed of 60 km/h through jumping. It is the only large animal that moves by hopping and can not jump backwards. It is also very difficult for them to walk slow, and to do so they need to use their front legs and/or tail.

There are a lot of kangaroo species, more than 45. Informally speaking, all these species are distributed in 4 groups: wallabies, tree-kangaroos, wallaroos and kangaroos (in order of size, from smallest to largest).

One of the most popular myths about kangaroos revolves around the origin of its name, a funny story: When the explorer James Cook was in Australia, he asked the locals what the name of these animals was. Their answer was “ganguru”, which in the Australian native language Guugu Yimidhirr means “I don’t understand”.

Females are always pregnant. While one joey is growing and developing in her pouch, another one is “frozen” awaiting its turn. Sometimes the female can simultaneously feed older offspring with one kind of milk and the newborn inside her pouch with another.

Kangaroos don’t sweat. As they live in areas with extreme temperatures, they lick their front arms and rub them onto their chest to cool down.

They have a peripheral field of vision of 300º and their large ears can rotate to hear sounds from a long distance. This helps them remain alert for any threat.

Males can tell if a female is ready to mate by the smell of her urine.

In times of draught, females can stop the development of a baby in her womb and wait until the rain comes so the chances of survival are better. Moreover, females can determine the sex of their offspring.

Two red kangaroos in the desert of outback Australia. By John Carnemolla |
Two red kangaroos in the desert of outback Australia. By John Carnemolla |
Red KangarooLeast concern
Macropus rufus85 cm – 1,6 m (33 in – 5,2 ft) + 65cm-1,2m (26 in – 3,9 ft) of tail.
Macropodidae18 to 90 kg (40-198 lbs)
Diprotodontia16 – 22 years
Mammalia33 days to crawl up into the mother’s pouch. 190 days more to leave it.
This species is commonThey feed on grass, flowers, leaves, fern, moss and sometimes insects.
They live in arid and semi-arid areas: Deserts and open grasslands, gathering in groups called mobs.They live in Australia, in fertile areas.

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