Kangaroos have long been regarded as strange animals. Early explorers described them as creatures that had heads like deer (without antlers), stood upright like men, and hopped like frogs. They have large, powerful hind legs, large feet adapted for leaping, a long muscular tail for balance, and a small head. Like all marsupials, female kangaroos have a pouch called a marsupium in which joeys complete postnatal development. They are the only large animals to use hopping as a means of locomotion.
Now some Kangaroo Facts:
- Kangaroos are found in Australia, New Guinea, and Tasmania. Some kangaroos have been introduced to Hawaii and New Zealand. The number of kangaroos is increasing in Australia.
- Kangaroos hop across the grassy plains of Australia at high speed. They cruise at 40 kph and reach 60kph for short bursts, using their long tail to help them balance. One red kangaroo made a record breaking long-jump of almost 13 metres.
- A group of Kangaroos is called a mob.
- A young Kangaroo is called a Joey.
- Emus and kangaroos cannot walk backwards.
- Kangaroos have very good eyesight but only when an object is moving. They also have excellent hearing, and they have the ability to swivel their ears in all directions to pick up sounds.
- Most kangaroos move about at night hunting for food. This makes them a nocturnal mammal. Most kangaroos spend the day resting in the shade.
- Kangaroos usually have one joey each year. The joey remains in the pouch for nine months and continues to suckle until twelve to seventeen months of age. When the joey is born it is not much more than a pink hairless tiny worm. Kangaroos can have 3 babies at one time. One becoming mature and just out of the pouch, another developing in the pouch and one embryo in pause mode. There are 4 teats in the pouch and each provides different milk for the different stages of development of each baby.
- Male kangaroos can be seen boxing when competing for the attention of a female. The tiny front legs aren’t much threat, but the powerful hind legs with their long sharp toenails are a dangerous weapon.