Kangaroo Island Kangaroo Fact File
The Kangaroo Island kangaroo is a subspecies of the western grey kangaroo. Their fur is dark brown across the body and is long and thick. The tips of the ears, paws, feet and tail are darker than the rest of the body.
In isolation from mainland kangaroos they have developed a shorter muzzle, feet and tail than the mainland western grey kangaroos.
As a kangaroo they have large back feet which assist with hopping and a strong tail for balance.
Males are larger than females. The males can measure up to 2m (6.6ft) long while females are smaller at between 1 and 1.5m (3.3-4.9ft) long. Their weight is highly variable between individuals ranging from 20-70kg (44-154lbs).
The Kangaroo Island kangaroo is a herbivore. Their diet is made up of a range of grasses, herbs and bushes which they graze for.
Due to their friendly nature humans often feed the kangaroos in their natural habitat but this is bad for their health leading to digestive issues.
Australia is the native home of the Kangaroo Island kangaroo. Here they are restricted to Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia.
They make their home in dense scrubland and open grassland.
Macropus fuliginosus ssp. Fugilinosus
Wild – 10 years
Captive – 20 years
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Breeding can occur year round though a peak has been recorded around summer.
Unlike most kangaroos the Kangaroo Island kangaroo has not been observed to conduct diapause. This is where the implantation of the embryo is delayed if environmental conditions are unfavorable and the survival of the joey would be unlikely. The lack of this adaptation is believed to be due to the lush environment they inhabit.
Their gestation is short at just 30-35 days. At birth a joey is around the size of the jellybean and climbs from the birth canal up in to the pouch within the first hour of its life.
In the pouch it will attach to the teat and spends the next 7-9 months suckling milk.
Roughly a month before the joey is due to leave the pouch the female will reproduce again so that she has a joey ready to be born when the previous one leaves.
While they leave the pouch at 7-9 months old they will continue to put their head in to suckle until 18 months old.
Sexual maturity is reached at 2 years old.
Kangaroo Island kangaroos form a group known as a mob which is led by a dominant male and includes a number of females.
Mobs spend their days resting in the scrub with most of their activity taking place around dusk and dawn when they will visit open areas to feed.
Predators and Threats
Kangaroo Island kangaroos have no natural predators. Animals which pass away may provide food for birds of prey.
The main threat presented by humans is vehicle strikes.
They are the only kangaroo species found on Kangaroo Island. When English navigator Matthew Flinders first visited the island in 1806 he found a group of the kangaroos and named the island for them.
Kangaroo Island kangaroos were the type specimen for the western grey kangaroo. A group was collected in 1803 by Francois Peron and taken to a French zoological garden where they were studied.
This subspecies is considered one of the most placid of the kangaroos in the wild likely due to their lack of a predator.
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Burbidge, A., Menkhorst, P., Ellis, M. & Copley, P. 2016. Macropus fuliginosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T40563A21953972. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-2.RLTS.T40563A21953972.en. Downloaded on 29 August 2020.
Australian Reptile Park - Wildlife Park Sydney & Animal Encounters Australia. 2020. Island Kangaroo Habitat, Diet & Reproduction. [online] Available at: <https://reptilepark.com.au/animals/mammals/kangaroo-island-kangaroo/> [Accessed 29 August 2020].
Sydney Zoo. 2020. Kangaroo Island Kangaroo. [online] Available at: <https://sydneyzoo.com/animal/kangaroo-island-kangaroo> [Accessed 29 August 2020].
Wickham, B., 2020. Species Feature: Kangaroo Island Kangaroo | Australian Wildlife Journeys. [online] Australianwildlifejourneys.com. Available at: <https://australianwildlifejourneys.com/blog/2018/07/02/33/species-feature-kangaroo-island-kangaroo> [Accessed 29 August 2020].
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