Ten Questions: Kangaroos

What do you know about kangaroos? Have you ever heard the story that when Europeans first saw kangaroos, they asked a native Australian what it was? The aborigine answered,"Kangaroo", meaning I don't know. Well, this story is false. The native description of a grey kangaroo is "gangurru".

I want to know more. Are you with me?

01. How many kinds of kangaroo are there?
There are 47 species of kangaroo. They range from the two pound rock wallaby to the three hundred pound red kangaroo.

02. What is a kangaroo, anyway?
They are the largest marsupial mammals. Marsupials are mammals that are born incompletely developed. Usually they are carried and suckled in a pouch found on the mother's belly. They are also macropods which means big foot.

03. What are boy kangaroos called?
An adult male is known as a buck or a boomer. The adult female is a doe or flyer. The young are called joeys. They all often travel in a group called a mob.

04. How often do they have babies?
Usually only once per year although there have been reports of twins.. The joey is born at a very immature stage of development. It weighs only about one gram and is about two centimeters long. It is about the size of a lima bean. The female goes into heat again a few days after the joey is born, but the fertilized egg lies dormant until time for the first joey to leave the pouch. If, for some reason, the doe gives birth before then, the teats in her pouch become specialized and produce two different kinds of milk to take care of the nutritional needs of each joey. She can successfully feed three babies if she needs to.

05. How do kangaroos move?
Usually they use their extremely strong hind legs to jump long distances. They cannot walk backwards with those big feet. Kangaroos can also move more slowly using a combination of their forelegs and tail in a sort of crawl walking.. If you lift a kangaroo's tail from the ground it can't jump.

06. Is there any other way a kangaroo moves?
Some kangaroos live in trees. Even though they cannot move their hind legs independently on land, kangaroos can kick each one separately when swimming.

07. What do kangaroos eat?
Kangaroos are herbivores. They eat grass, young shoots and leaves of heath plants and grass trees. Because of their chambered stomachs they even regurgitate their food in the same way a cow does.

08. What do kangaroos drink?
Kangaroos get most of their water needs from the plants they eat so they can go for long periods of time without drinking. If they do need water, they will dig their own wells to find it.

09. Where are kangaroos found?
Most of them are known to be in Australia. They are also found in Tasmania and New Guinea.

10. Do they really box?
Yes they do. It is usually a form of play between young males or a show of dominance in the case of adult males.

So now we know a bit about the kangaroo. I think we need to go to Australia for a "walk-about" and see what else we can learn.What do you think?


  1. 47 species?!? That's amazing. Thanks for this. What do you mean by grass trees? Do you mean grass and trees, or trees that are monocots? xobb

  2. They are an interesting, but strange looking animal.
    Interesting place Australia, worth a visit.

  3. Grass trees are monocots. They are found in Australia. They usually have grass-like leaves or fronds and a thicker stem in the center.

    Yes kangaroos are strange to look at. If you decide to go take a look for yourself, be sure to watch carefully. They leap long distances and are not always friendly.

    Thank you both for your comments.

  4. Learned a lot about 'roos here today. Thanks for the information.


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