- Scientific name: Macropus
- Family: Macropodidae
- Classification: Mammal
- IUCN status: Least concern
- Lifespan (in wild): Up to 23 years
- Weight: Around 90kg
- Body size: Over 2m in height
- Top speed: 56km/h
- Diet: Herbivore – mainly grasses
- Habitat: Australian deserts and grasslands
Kangaroos are members of the Macropodidae family, which literally means “large foot.” Kangaroos can run at speeds of up to 56 km/h and leap more than 9 metres in a single bound, which is equivalent to more than six ten-year-olds lying head to toe!
They have short front legs and a long, powerful tail that aids in their jumping balance. These remarkable animals, the tallest of all our planet’s marsupials, may stand over two metres tall.
Kangaroos dwell in tiny groups called troops or herds (or’mobs’ by Australians), which are normally made up of 50 or more animals. When kangaroos are threatened, they pound the ground with their powerful feet to alert and warn the rest of the group.
And these amazing creatures aren’t to be trifled with: when they fight, they use powerful punches and kicks, and will occasionally bite. Males frequently battle between themselves for access to females.
Female kangaroos have a pouch on their abdomen (formed by a fold in the skin) that they use to cradle their young, known as joeys. Newborn joeys are tiny, weighing about 2.5 cm in length, or approximately the same size as a grape — adorable!
Joeys navigate alone through their mother’s thick fur to the comfort and protection of the pouch shortly after birth. Because a baby kangaroo can’t suckle or swallow, its mother uses her muscles to pump milk down its throat.
The youngster emerges from the pouch for brief travels at roughly 4 months, and at ten months, it is grown enough to leave the pouch permanently.
Herbivores, kangaroos like chewing on grasses, herbs, and plants. Kangaroos have few natural predators outside people and wild canines known as dingoes.
But it doesn’t mean these guys have it easy. Heat, drought, and hunger as a result of dwindling habitat are just a few of the threats these remarkable marsupials confront.