Kangaroos

Appearance

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The kangaroo has a thick long tail and powerful hind legs. The kangaroos' front paws have sharp claws. The tallest kangaroo is 6 feet and weighs 150 to 200 pounds. The smallest kangaroo is a Wallaby which weighs 2 pounds. The most common colours for kangaroos are: blue, grey, and red. They can also be black, yellow or brown.

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Joeys

The baby kangaroo is really tiny, the size of a jelly bean.The baby kangaroo is called a joey.The joeys drink their mothers milk in the mothers powch to they are 12 months old and then they eat grass and they look for water.

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Diet

Diet: Kangaroos eat grass, broad-leaved ground plants, and shrubs. Like other macro pods (and other Australian animals that are herbivores like koalas), they are well adapted to deal with a diet that is high in fiber but low in nutrients. Being grazing animals, they regurgitate their food to chew, just like cattle chew the cud. The type of plants they eat is known to worn down their molars (back teeth) quite quickly kangaroos do drink water, but they can go without it for quite a while – an adaptation to Australian dry inland where finding water can be unpredictable.

 
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The Word Kangaroo

The word kangaroo stems from an Aboriginal language (Guugu yimidhirr). The Aboriginal word gangurru described the grey kangaroo. It's an urban myth that the name kangaroo is the result ofa misunderstanding, and developed from an Aboriginal word meaning” I don't know", or " I don't under stand".(Thats a popular story, you often read it in connection with names that developed from Aboriginal words.) 

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Life and Habitat


Kangaroos are herbivorous, eating a range of plants and, in some cases, fungi. Most are nocturnal but some are active in the early morning and late afternoon. Different kangaroo species live in a variety of habitats. Potoroids, for example, make nests while tree-kangaroos.

Kangaroos of all sizes have one thing in common: powerful back legs with long feet. Most kangaroos live on the ground and are distinguished from other animals by the way they hop on their strong back legs. A kangaroo’s tail is used to balance while hopping and as a fifth limb when moving slowly.



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All the pouchfemale kangaroos have front-opening pouches that contain four teats. This is where the ‘joey’, or young kangaroo, is raised until it can survive outside .


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Most kangaroos have no set breeding cycle and are able to breed all year round. Because they are such prolific breeders, a kangaroo population can increase fourfold in five years if it has continuous access to plentiful food and water.

Reproduction

Most kangaroos are able to breed all year round. Kangaroos usually have one young each year. The mother is pregnant for lasts 31–36 days. Baby kangaroos are the size of a jellybean when they are born. They are born blind and hairless. Baby kangaroos (also called joeys) live in their mother's pouch and feed by drinking her milk joey will usually stay in the pouch for about 9 months.


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Mating

The dominant male is given all of the mating rights. This title is determined by size and strength. It is not until he dies or is beaten by a rival male that this right is given up to another kangaroo. When courting a female, the dominant male will follow her around, sniffing her to see if she is ready to mate. During this period, males may stroke a female's chest, neck, or tail. They are also seen bobbing their heads up and down while making a clucking noise. Females who are in heat may seek out the largest male by extending the boundaries of their home range.


Behaviour


Kangaroos are part of a group, which consists of two to eight individuals and functions as a social unit. They usually spend their days laying around in the shade, coming out at night to graze on food.

Behavior among the kangaroo can either be harmonious or aggressive. Respectful interaction includes nose touching and sniffing, nuzzling a female's pouch, touching the lips of another kangaroo, and mutual grooming. They also playfight. This behavior occurs between young kangaroo, as well as from mother to child, or between young adults. When kangaroos playfight they wrap their arms around one another's necks, touching forepaws and kicking.

Aggressive behavior takes shape through fighting which resembles playfighting. Most fights are one-sided and do not last a very long time. A kangaroo's body position can indicate the intention to fight.

 

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The red kangaroo is the world's largest marsupial. Females have one baby at a time, which at birth is smaller than a cherry. The infant immediately climbs into its mother's pouch and does not emerge for two months. Until they reach about eight months of age, threatened young kangaroos, called joeys, will quickly dive for the safety of mom's pouch. As they grow, joeys' heads and feet can often be seen hanging out of the pouch.

Red kangaroos hop along on their powerful hind legs and do so at great speed. A red kangaroo can reach speeds of over 35 miles (56 kilometers) an hour. Their bounding gate allows them to cover 25 feet (8 meters) in a single leap and to jump 6 feet (1.8 meters) high.Female red kangaroos are smaller, lighter, and faster than males. They also boast a blue-hued coat, so many Australians call them "blue fliers."Larger male kangaroos are powerfully built. Like many species, male kangaroos sometimes fight over potential mates. They often lean back on their sturdy tail and "box" each other with their strong hind legs. Kangaroos can also bite and wield sharp claws, which they may do in battle with an enemy like a dingo.Red kangaroos live in Australia's deserts and open grasslands, gathering in groups called mobs. Aboriginal and European Australians have spent centuries clearing open tracts of land and establishing water sources—both of which are boons to kangaroo populations. Many millions of these animals roam Australia, and considerable numbers are killed each year for their skins and meat, which is becoming a more popular human food.

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References

http://www.outback-australia-travel-secrets.com/kangaroo-facts.html
date accessed: 1/6/11

http://www.dfat.gov.au/facts/kangaroos.html
date accessed: 2/6/11

http://www.kangaroolearningzone.com/kangaroo-reproduction.php

date accessed: 2/6/11

http://rootae.tripod.com/kangaroo_behaviorspage.htm
date accessed: 2/6/11

Contributors

Jessica Wilson and Katarina Saravanos