Kangaroos are the world’s largest marsupials. A Red Kangaroo have the right to weigh 90kg and also grow two metres tall.

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No image of outback Australia is finish without a crowd of kangaroos hopping across the horizon. Kangaroos belong come the Macropodidae family, an interpretation ‘big foot’ in Latin, in referral to the species’ unusually large hind feet.

What’s the difference between a kangaroo and also a wallaby? The division is arbitrary: the types we call kangaroos are simply the larger pets in the Macropus genus.

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Kangaroos on our Pilungah Reserve, Qld. Photograph Eve Jani.

These encompass the Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus), Eastern Grey Kangaroo (M. Giganteus), Western Grey Kangaroo (M. Fuliginosus), Antilopine Kangaroo (M. Antilopinus), Common Wallaroo (or Euro) (M. Robustus) and the Black Wallaroo (M. Bernadus).

The indigenous kangaroo derives indigenous 'Gangurru', the name provided to east Grey Kangaroos by the Guuga Yimithirr civilization of much North Queensland. Kangaroos space of social and spiritual definition to indigenous people throughout Australia. Plus, their meat was, and continues to be, a staple protein source; pelts were provided for clothing and rugs; and also their skin crafted right into water bags.

Kangaroos are the world’s biggest marsupials. A Red Kangaroo can weigh 90kg and can flourish two metres tall.

Black Wallaroos, at roughly 20 kg, are the smallest types of the team (their surname a portmanteau that wallaby and also kangaroo).

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Duelling kangaroos. Photo Steve Parish.

All kangaroos have short hair, an effective hind legs, little forelimbs, large feet and also a long tail. They have excellent hearing and keen eyesight. Depending upon the species, their hair coat have the right to be red, grey or irradiate to dark brown.

Kangaroos are well known for their means of locomotion: hopping! They can reach speed of 60kph, clearing more than 8m with a single hop!

Their muscular tail is provided for balance once hopping, and also as one more limb when relocating about. They additionally use your tail once swimming; that’s ideal – kangaroos are great swimmers! They swim to avoid predators, and can usage their forepaws to drown pursuers.

Kangaroos can’t move backwards. It's hence they're featured on the Australian coat of arms: an animal that can only move forwards as a symbolof national progress.Click to tweet

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A kangaroo top top the move. Picture Steve Parish.

Kangaroos are famed for their forward-opening pouch, whereby the joey (baby kangaroo) develops and also suckles. A female kangaroo is known as a 'flyer' or a 'doe' and a male kangaroo a 'buck' or a 'boomer' (hence the nickname the the Australian men's basketball team, the Boomers). Lock live in society groups called mobs.

Where perform kangaroos live?

Red Kangaroos are found over most of arid Australia, preferring flat open plains. Eastern Greys are found from Cape York to Tasmania; Western Greys have an equally wide distribution, from west Australia to Victoria (both varieties prefer denser vegetation).

Antilopine Kangaroos live across northern Australia in monsoonal dry woodlands, and also Common Wallaroos are uncovered over many of Australia, especially roughly rocky outcrops.

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A usual Wallaroo in ~ Carnarvon Reserve, Qld. Picture Wayne Lawler/EcoPix.

According to the IUCN Red list of intimidated Species, the black color Wallaroo, limited to the sandstone nation in the north Territory, is close to Threatened with extinction. The remainder the the varieties are widespread, common and also considered of least Concern.

Kangaroo behaviour

Like every marsupials, kangaroos have pouches wherein the joeys space reared, drinking milk indigenous mammary glands. Females have actually one young annually, however they’re maybe to save extra embryos in a dormant state (‘embryonic diapause’) until the an initial joey pipeline the pouch.

They have the right to have a joey at your feet, one in the pouch and another in diapause all at the exact same time.

Incredibly, every of the female’s four teats provides different milk because that the different stages that the joeys’ development.

Kangaroos hiss and also growl as soon as alarmed, females make clicking noises to communicate with your offspring, and also males ‘chuckle’ throughout courtship!

Kangaroos space most energetic between dusk and dawn, as they search for your favourite foods: grass, as well as leaves, ferns, flowers, fruit and also moss. Prefer cattle, castle regurgitate their food, chewing it twice prior to it passes v their chambered stomach.

Kangaroos need totally free water to survive; however, once desperate they're recognized to destruction holes a metre deep searching for water.

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east Grey Kangaroos at Yourka Reserve, Qld. Photograph Wayne Lawler/EcoPix.

Threats come kangaroos

Kangaroos have few natural predators: Dingoes, humans, Wedge-tailed Eagles and, before their extermination, Tasmanian Tigers.

Introduced carnivores, such as wild dogs and foxes food on the young, and introduced herbivores compete with kangaroos because that food.

European settlement has actually actually been positive for numerous kangaroo varieties because of: the introduction of long-term water sources (bores, tanks and also dams); the supplication of pasture grasses; the extinction of Tasmanian Tigers and the extermination the Dingoes across substantial landscapes.

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In some areas, kangaroos are overabundant (though this isn’t the instance for the Antilopine Kangaroo or the black color Wallaroo, who numbers are decreasing).