Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team
Date: October 24, 2022 6:30 pm
World Kangaroo Day is celebrated on the 24th of October each year and seeks to bring awareness to the world’s largest species of marsupial. The day has been established by the not for profit organisation Kangaroos Alive who advocate for the ethical treatment of kangaroos.
Kangaroo’s are marsupials meaning that the female has a pouch on her stomach where a young kangaroo starts life the size of a jellybean. In the pouch they feed on milk and grow in to an adult kangaroo. They spend several months in the pouch. Before leaving the pouch for the first time they will gradually poke their head out and look around.
While raising one joey in the pouch the female has another embryo waiting ready to be born once the current one has left the pouch. They may also still be caring for the previous joey which has left the pouch but not yet gone out on its own.
The kangaroos are part of a group of marsupials known as the ‘macropods’ this translates as ‘big foot,’ a reference to their large back foot which helps them to move at high speed through the well-known hopping method.
As a result of their large feet they are able to move at speeds of up to 56km/h. A single hop may carry a kangaroo for 9m (29ft). This is a highly efficient means of movement and uses less calories the faster they hop.
Four species of kangaroo are typically recognized. These are the red kangaroo, western grey kangaroo, eastern grey kangaroo and the antilopine wallaroo. They are closely related to the wallabies, potoroos and bettongs which can also be found in Australia.
When kangaroos are unable to find water at ground level they have been observed digging holes of up to a metre deep to find underground water sources.
A male kangaroo is known as a buck, jack or boomer and the female is known as a doe, flyer or jill. The young is known as a joey.
Kangaroos are herbivores with most species feeding on a range of grasses. They will regurgitate their food and chew it again to extract the most nutrition possible from the meal.
The kangaroo is a symbol of Australia and one of the most prominent examples of this is on the coat of arms. Kangaroos are displayed on the coat of arms alongside the emu, both species are unable to move backwards. They were placed on the coat of arms as a symbol that the country is always moving forward.
Kangaroos live in groups known as mobs, troops or herds. These include a number of adult females and their young. A single dominant male will be the only individual allowed to breed with any of the females.
Males and females will regularly spar with one another to retain their breeding rights and with it access to the females.
The kangaroo uses its strong tail as a fifth limb. This will help them to balance and push off of as they hop across the outback.
They don’t have many enemies. Kangaroos could be preyed upon by dingoes and wedge-tailed eagles. Those on the Australian east coast are protected from dingoes by the dingo fence which was built to protect sheep farms.
This species is commercially hunted and the meat is used for both human and animal consumption.
The largest species of rock wallaby, the yellow-footed rock wallaby is able to move easily across the rocky outcrops they live on.
The euro is also known as the wallaroo or the hill kangaroo. They are commonly found along rock outcrops.
The red kangaroo is the largest species of kangaroo with males measuring up to 1.4m (4.6ft) long and weighing 85kg (187lbs).
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