The kangaroo is a marsupial from the family Macropodidae (macropods, meaning ‘large foot’). In common use the term is used to describe the largest species from this family, especially those of the genus Macropus, red kangaroo, antilopine kangaroo, eastern grey kangaroo and western grey kangaroo. Kangaroos are endemic to Australia. kangaroos are iconic symbols of the Australian outback, and are the largest living marsupials. Their powerful giant hindquarters enable them to leap along, covering a monstrous nine metres in a single bound. kangaroos have the ability to breed whenever conditions are right and twins can occur when food is abundant. A newborn weighs a mere 0.75 grams, and takes three minutes to make its way through its mother’s fur into the pouch, where it spends the next 70 days.
Kangaroos have large, powerful hind legs, large feet adapted for leaping, a long muscular tail for balance, and a small head. Like most marsupials, female kangaroos have a pouch called a marsupium in which joeys complete postnatal development.
The red kangaroo is the world’s largest marsupial. Females have one baby at a time, which at birth is smaller than a cherry. The infant immediately climbs into its mother’s pouch and does not emerge for two months. Until they reach about eight months of age, threatened young kangaroos, called joeys, will quickly dive for the safety of mom’s pouch. As they grow, joeys’ heads and feet can often be seen hanging out of the pouch.
Red kangaroos hop along on their powerful hind legs and do so at great speed. A red kangaroo can reach speeds of over 35 miles (56 kilometers) an hour. Their bounding gait allows them to cover 25 feet (8 meters) in a single leap and to jump 6 feet (1.8 meters) high.
Female red kangaroos are smaller, lighter, and faster than males. They also boast a blue-hued coat, so many Australians call them “blue fliers.”
Larger male kangaroos are powerfully built. Like many species, male kangaroos sometimes fight over potential mates. They often lean back on their sturdy tail and “box” each other with their strong hind legs. Kangaroos can also bite and wield sharp claws, which they may do in battle with an enemy like a dingo.
Red kangaroos live in Australia’s deserts and open grasslands, gathering in groups called mobs. Aboriginal and European Australians have spent centuries clearing open tracts of land and establishing water sources—both of which are boons to kangaroo populations. Many millions of these animals roam Australia, and considerable numbers are killed each year for their skins and meat, which is becoming a more popular human food.
The Kangaroo Distribution Map world wide.