Red Kangaroo

Scientific Name: Macropus rufus

Description

Red kangaroos live in mobs on the plains of Australia and feed on grasses and plants. Accustomed to dry conditions, they can go for long periods without drinking, gaining moisture from the plants they consume. These marsupials are mostly nocturnal but cope with the heat during the day by licking their wrists.

Reddish-brown males, often called “boomers,” and smaller grey females, or “flyers,” can cover a distance of 25 feet in one leap, often traveling as fast as 30 mph. Fighting over females is common between two males. Using their large tails to balance, they stand upright, lock forearms and try to push their opponent off balance with their rear legs.

Like all marsupials, female red kangaroos give birth to a relatively undeveloped offspring after about 33 days. The young kangaroo, called a joey, weighs less than an ounce at birth and use its front legs to pull itself through its mother’s fur and into the pouch. It remains in the pouch for the next 6 months where it continues to grow. Once developed enough to leave the pouch, the joey continues to return to its mother for feedings until about a year old. Kangaroos can live up to 20 years of age.

Range

Red kangaroos have a high rate of reproduction in the wild and are stable in most areas throughout their range.

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