- Genus: Macropus
- Conservation Status: Least Concern
- Location: Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea
There are many different species of kangaroos and they live in a variety of habitats. Kangaroos are found in the forests, woodland areas, and savannas of Australia, Tasmania and surrounding islands. When you think of kangaroos, the first thing that comes to mind is the pouch, where mothers carry their babies. Kangaroos belong to a group of animals known as marsupials, whose babies are born before being fully formed. The babies then complete their growth in their mother’s pouch. A Kangaroo’s extremely long feet make walking impossible - it moves by hopping on its hind legs, using its tail for steering and balancing. It can hop very fast and leap long distances too. The kangaroo has good eyesight, excellent hearing and can swivel its large ears in all directions to pick up sounds.
Kangaroos vary in size, depending on the species. The red kangaroo is the largest of the species, and is about the height of a tall adult - and about as heavy too. Kangaroos are grazing animals that eat grass, young shoots and leaves of heath plants and grass trees. They need very little water and can go for months without drinking at all. The kangaroo has a stomach with chambers, just like cows and sheep. It will bring up its half eaten food, and then chew and swallow it again for digestion!
Their main enemies are dingoes and humans. As forests, woodlands and savannas are being taken over by humans, the kangaroos are finding it more difficult to survive in the wild. It is important to protect them for they play a key role in keeping the balance of nature in the surroundings that are their home.
Did You Know?
- Kangaroos cannot walk backwards.
- Kangaroos are Australia’s national animal.
- Kangaroos can jump very high, sometimes three times their own height.
- Kangaroos can swim.