Kangaroo

Kangaroo

The Red Kangaroo is an iconic Australian animal of the outback and the world’s largest marsupial.

Scientific Name: Macropus rufus
Common Name: Red Kangaroo
IUCN Status: LC - Least concern

Hop to it

Red Kangaroos hopping can reach speeds of up to 64 km per hour! They can reach a height of 1.8m and travel up to nine metres in a single hop!

Balancing act

When moving fast roos hop on their hind legs, using their tail as a counterbalance, and when moving slowly they use their tail as an extra limb, taking their weight on their front limbs and tail while hopping their hind feet forwards. 

My mob

A group of kangaroos is called a mob. Red Kangaroos usually hang-out in a family group of about 10 animals but some males will lead a solitary life. The Red Kangaroo is nocturnal and largely spends the daylight hours sleeping or resting in the shade of trees.

Early arrival

Being a marsupial, Red Kangaroos give birth to underdeveloped young, about the size of a jellybean, that continues development whilst suckling milk inside the mother’s pouch. The joey will leave the pouch around 235 days old, but will continue to suckle until 12 months of age.

Press pause

Female kangaroos can delay giving birth if conditions in their current environment are not ideal eg. Food is scarce and there is drought or they already have a joey in their pouch, this process is called embryonic diapause. As a result of this process, when conditions are good the female can simultaneously support a suckling young outside the pouch, a suckling young within the pouch, and a dormant or developing embryo, and any young lost during drought can quickly be replaced when conditions improve.

In between drinks

The Red Kangaroo has the ability to survive through drought when water is scarce. The grasses and foliage that the kangaroo eats provides them with their water needs as well as their nutritional requirements.

The boxing kangaroo

Mostly Red Kangaroos are not aggressive or territorial, however, Red Kangaroo males (boomers) ‘box’ each other when fighting over female mates. They stand in a tripod position using their back legs and tail and jab their opponents with their front paws. If the fight escalates, they can deliver a powerful kick with both hind legs, using their tail as support. This is where the phrase ‘boxing kangaroo’ comes from.

Come and meet us

Meet our kangaroos and wallabies at the Australian Walkabout at Taronga Zoo Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo.