Facts About the Kangaroo

Few animals evoke Australia as much as the iconic kangaroo does, beloved both within Australia itself and by many around the globe.

Hopping mammals are unique among mammals in that their hind legs have been specifically tailored for this form of movement.

Newborn kangaroos, commonly referred to as joeys, make their way into their mother’s pouch where they attach one of four teats for sustenance.


The kangaroo is an iconic Australian animal and often appears in images depicting this country. As one of the largest marsupials, it serves as a national emblem and feature on some currency notes as well as being featured on Qantas, its national airline. Native only to Australia and New Guinea, these mammalian members of Macropodidae family can live up to 20 years in the wild!

Female kangaroos possess pouches made from folds in their skin that they use to shelter their young, or “joeys.” Following gestation periods that last 31 to 36 days, baby kangaroos are born blind and bald – no larger than a grape! Following birth they crawl into their mother’s pouch where they feed off its teat until it’s time for exploration of its environment – peeping out periodically just long enough for an eye peek before leaving home for good!

Kangaroos use their small forelimbs and tail to balance themselves while swinging their hind legs forward like pendulums – this movement is known as saltation, and allows them to travel at maximum speed by both feet kicking off at once.

Red kangaroos measure between 3.25 to 5.25 feet from head to base of tail (0.9 and 1.6 meters), making them quite large animals when measured head-to-tail (roughly equivalent to three to five meters). When standing still they can rise more than 9 feet (3 meters), with their tail held high when standing up. Furthermore they can leap over obstacles taller than themselves and one was recorded covering 23 feet (7 meters in a single leap!


As their marsupial cousins do, kangaroos employ pouches to raise their young, giving the mother time to hunt food while protecting her offspring from predators. Joeys are born hairless and helpless weighing less than an inch before crawling into its mother’s pouch and attaching themselves to its teat until reaching maturity at 120-400 days in total.

Kangaroos feed on grasses and shrubs to obtain their water needs, and are adept swimmers as well. When pursued by predators, they frequently escape into nearby watersways if possible or use their forepaws to hold onto them until the predator drowns itself.

Kangaroo stomachs have multiple chambers that enable them to digest tough plant material more easily than other grazing animals; this digestion process, however, releases large amounts of methane gas into the atmosphere – something kangaroos are equipped to deal with by coughing up undigested portions and chewing before swallowing back down – this act of fermentation helps lower methane production levels significantly.

Kangaroos are unique among animals in that they use hopping as a form of locomotion, using strong hind legs and feet more powerful than their arms (or “forelimbs”). Kangaroos have been observed hopping up to 30 mph (48 km/h), covering distances up to 15 feet (7 meters in a single hop.

Kangaroos in the wild face few natural predators; however, dingoes, domestic and feral cats introduced by humans, and foxes (introduced from Europe) can all pose threats. Each year thousands of kangaroos are killed to reduce population levels and prevent interference with agricultural production.


Kangaroos are predominantly herbivorous creatures that primarily feed on grass; however they also eat leaves, ferns, flowers, fruit seeds and moss. Some species spend most of their time up on trees as opportunistic omnivores here; eating tree bark roots fruits flowers insects landing on them as well as possibly eggs or young from other animals.

Kangaroo teeth are optimized to shear grass while its molars grind and chop it, creating an effective combination. Their wider jaw gives a stronger grinding power; additionally, these molars feature cavities to store silica found in some grasses for storage purposes. Furthermore, this extra munching helps break down tough fibrous plant material for improved digestion; similar to ruminants their chambered stomach aids their ability to digest fibrous plants that would be difficult for other mammals to consume.

Kangaroos, like other marsupials, can absorb water through their skin. This allows them to go months without drinking; most of their needs for sustenance come from plant sources anyway.

Kangaroos in the wild tend to be most active at night and early morning, resting during the hotter parts of the day and communicating via clicking sounds with each other and their young. When alarmed or threatened, hissing and growling will occur while any aggressive animals may hiss and growl their displeasure at being fed bread or carrots which could potentially make them sick.


After a month-long gestation period, an infant kangaroo (known as a joey) is born hairless and helpless. After crawling into its mother’s pouch to nurse its teat attachment, it stays for 120 to 400 days as it grows into adult size – providing them protection, warmth, and nourishment until eventually leaving her pouch to become independent adults.

A joey’s mouth is lined with sharp, curved teeth and its stomach features chambered-system similar to that of cows, allowing it to break down tough vegetation into small bits before regurgitating it and chewing again in order to extract nutrients from plant matter. This process allows it to extract maximum nutrition from plant materials.

Mammals like foxes, domestic and feral dogs, dingoes and other predators pose a threat to kangaroos, particularly young ones. Additionally, they are susceptible to the weather conditions as well as diseases.

Like their macropod counterparts, kangaroos feature longer and stronger hind legs compared to their forelimbs. Their long muscular tail serves both to balance when they hop as well as an additional fifth limb when resting.

Male kangaroos fight for dominance among groups of female kangaroos and other males known as mobs, often through mutual sniffing as an act of greeting; some males even use their forelimbs or powerful central claws as weapons against one another in an aggressive display of force.

Kangaroos are excellent swimmers and have been known to escape into waterways when pursued by predators, holding an animal underwater using their forepaws or disemboweling it as they swim past it. Furthermore, these animals have proven adept at running fast and jumping high when threatened – though despite these natural defenses some species’ populations have experienced significant decrease due to introduced predators.


Kangaroos possess an unusual reproductive system. Like other mammals, female kangaroos feature a nipple and pouch. But unlike placental mammals, the female kangaroo has three vaginas and two uteruses for gestation – two outer vaginas are used to transport sperm to her uterus while babies are born via her middle uterus. This gives kangaroos multiple birthing capabilities while also acting as birth control during times of drought or scarcity.

At birth, joeys are hairless and blind with stunted forelimbs. When crawling instinctively to its mother’s marsupial pouch – via its fur pathway – it attaches itself to its teat and remains there until its weight allows it to leave; once this occurs it stays with its mother for 120 to 400 days while developing adult features and muscles.

At around age five, joeys are weaned from their mother and begin mating. Males become highly aggressive during this stage, fighting to establish dominance within a group using various tactics such as nose touching or sniffing other males as well as licking urine from rivals to establish dominance over them.

As a rule, kangaroos tend to live in loose groups of 10 to 100 individuals known as mobs or troops. These provide protection and security from predators such as dingoes, feral cats, and domestic dogs. If threatened, a kangaroo will often flee into waterways to escape an attacker; when pursued further they can use their forelimbs to hold it underwater for long enough so it drowns; alternatively they may beat their tail against the ground as an early signal.

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