Kangaroos – aren’t they cute? But they kick really hard – we mean, damn hard! So, steer clear of their kicking radius! Well, kangaroos are marsupials and live primarily in Australia and they are so popular that they have strong cultural references. So, let us today learn 40 interesting kangaroo facts. Many of you may already know about these kangaroo facts but let us consider this as a mere refresher course. Well, if you happen to learn something new here, do let us know!
Interesting Kangaroo Facts: 1-5
1. The name ‘Kangaroo’ originated from an aboriginal language known as Guugu Yimihirr. The actual word was ‘Gangurru’ that the aboriginals used for describing the grey kangaroo.
2. Some people believe that the name actually originated from an aboriginal word that meant ‘I don’t know’. That is nothing but a pure urban myth.
3. Kangaroos are marsupials. Marsupials are those animals that carry their babies in a pouch.
4. Kangaroos are mostly found in Australia but they are also found in one other place – Papua New Guinea. The species found in Papua New Guinea is the Tree Kangaroo.
5. Buck, Jack and Boomer are the names given to adult male kangaroos.
Interesting Kangaroo Facts: 6-10
6. Adult female kangaroos are known by the names Jill, Flyer and Doe.
7. Just like the adult male and female kangaroos, even the younger fellows have a name. They are called Joeys.
8. There are many types of kangaroos. Red Kangaroos usually live in open plains. Western and Eastern Grey Kangaroos usually live in scrublands and moist forests of south-western, southern and eastern Australia. The habitats of Western and Eastern Grey Kangaroos often end up overlapping with that of Red Kangaroos.
9. Despite the fact that Western and Eastern Grey Kangaroos are THE MOST COMMON species found in Australia, the Red Kangaroos have managed to grab more fame.
10. We have another type of kangaroo known as the Wallaroos. They are found in inland Australia. They prefer rocky outcrops and stone country as their habitat.
Interesting Kangaroo Facts: 11-15
11. If you think Wallaroos are extreme in choice of their habitat, you are wrong! We have the Rock Wallabies that live on rocky hills, cliff faces and even piles of boulders!
12. Then we have the Tree Kangaroos that are kind of habituated to living on trees. Well, kind of you know! They are clumsy. They can be found in northern Queensland rainforests and Papua New Guinea.
13. The very word ‘Kangaroo’ actually represents a super-family. That is, we use the word to describe all species within this super-family known as macropods. In this super-family known as macropods, there are different species of kangaroos which are broken down into two prominent families – the Macropodidae and the Potoroidae.
Okay…now things are going to get a little dirty!
14. The Macropodidae family consists of our usual Red and Grey Kangaroos and also includes species like Forest Wallabies, Wallabies, Wallaroos, Tree Kangaroos and Pademelons.
15. The Potoroidae include Bettongs, Potoroos and Rat Kangaroos.
Did you know that there were so many different species of kangaroos out there? Damn! We didn’t know!
Interesting Kangaroo Facts: 16-20
16. Now, the Wallabies have different species. Some of them are smaller in size and are highly specialized but lesser known. Their distribution is pretty narrow and climatic changes pose a great threat to them. These smaller species can be found almost everywhere in Australia from rainforests, to woodlands to deserts…
17. At least 6 different species of the super-family of macropods have become extinct after the Europeans entered Australia. Many other species of the family have now become almost extinct and are classified as endangered species. Crescent Nail-tail Wallaby and Eastern Hare-wallaby are extinct whereas Broad-faced Potoroo and Central Hare-wallaby are probably extinct.
18. The largest of all living marsupials is the Red Kangaroo. This species can grow up to 2 meters and can weigh up to 200 pounds of 90 kilos! These Red Kangaroos are capable of leaping 10 feet high and 25 feet far from a given point at their top hopping speed of 60 kph or 40 mph.
19. The second largest marsupial is the Eastern Grey Kangaroo capable of growing up to 1.8 meters and can weigh up to 130 pounds or 60 kilos! They can attain a top speed of 50 kph and can leap up to 29 feet far in one bound!
20. The third largest marsupial is the Western Grey Kangaroo which is slightly smaller than its Eastern counterpart and can weigh up to 110 pounds or 50 kilos.
Did you know that a kangaroo has an average life of 6 years in the wild and 20 years in captivity?
Interesting Kangaroo Facts: 21-25
21. The smaller fellows of the macropod family are kind of diverse in terms of size and appearance. For instance, the Wallabies can attain a maximum weight of 55 pounds or 25 kilos. Other smaller species can be really small, we mean ‘Little fellows’ weighing around 500 grams.
22. Kangaroos are the only large animals in this world that have a hopping locomotion and they cannot move backwards!
23. All kangaroos have strong hind legs and large feet except the Tree Kangaroos that have weak and small hind legs.
24. A kangaroos possesses a very strong and long tail that is usually used for balancing while hopping. The tail is often used as a fifth limb!
25. An extremely weird fact about the kangaroos is that they cannot make their hind legs move separately when they are on land but in water those hind legs can move separately, making them extremely strong swimmers!
Interesting Kangaroo Facts: 26-30
26. Joeys (the younger ones) live in the pouches of their mothers where they drink milk. They live in the pouch until they are really strong enough to face the cruel world outside.
27. Female kangaroos have a gestation period of 31 to 36 days. Thus Joeys are born pretty early.
28. The newborn babies of kangaroos are actually embryos that are pink in color and are completely hairless. They are just big enough to come out into the pouch and attach to one of the 4 teats of their mothers.
29. Just after birth, the Joeys stay permanently attached to the teats. As the keep growing, they keep learning how to detach and reattach. They don’t develop fur until several months pass by. By the time the fur develops, Joeys become big enough to come out of the pouch for the first time in life.
30. Once out of the pouch, a Joey will actually spend more time outside its mother’s pouch and explore the surrounding and return back to the pouch less frequently and eventually leave the pouch permanently.
Interesting Kangaroo Facts: 31-35
31. A Joey will continue drinking milk from the pouch until it is completely weaned. By the time a Joey is completely weaned, he or she may be 12 months old.
32. Did you know that female kangaroos stay pregnant permanently? That sounds weird but that’s true! Once a female kangaroo bears a joey, she mates again. However, the development of the second joey is halted temporarily. If the first joey somehow gets lost or when it leaves the pouch, the female kangaroo gives birth once again!
33. Did you know that once the first joey is capable enough to leave the pouch, the teat of the mummy kangaroo that he or she was attached to will keep producing high carbohydrate milk so that joey can get milk when he or she returns and in the meantime, the mummy kangaroo will give birth to a second joey who will attach to another teat that will produce high fat-content milk? So essentially, a kangaroo will produce two different types of milk at once!
34. Any female kangaroo can have three babies at once. One outside the pouch, occasionally returning for milk, one inside the pouch permanently attached to another teat and one will be an embryo whose development is temporarily halted!
35. Because of their unique reproduction process, kangaroos are capable of bringing up 3 babies in two years despite the fact that the oldest of the three joeys takes up to a year to become completely independent.
Interesting Kangaroo Facts: 36-40
36. Kangaroos are completely herbivores. Their diet includes strictly plants!
37. Kangaroos don’t live alone. They live in groups or mobs of 10 including males and females. Only the strongest and the oldest male in the mob gets to mate with the females in the mob. This male is also the dominant male of the mob.
38. Kangaroos are mostly nocturnal. They spend most of their day resting in some shade and become active only at night, late evening or early morning.
39. Kangaroos are boxing champs! Their front legs are pretty harmless when the punch but it is wise to steer clear of their hind legs that have sharp claws. They can easily disembowel their opponents with their hind legs and claws. They do this to dogs (which are predators of kangaroos) and even to other kangaroos when they fight for dominance or winning a female.
40. Australia’s unofficial symbol is kangaroo. Kangaroos appear as emblem in some of the country’s currency and even Australian coat of arms. Kangaroo emblems are used by Royal Australian Air Force and other organizations such as Qantas.
Image Credits: 1, 2