The Red Kangaroo

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General information:{short description of image}The Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus), is the largest living marsupial. These animals are mostly found in the dry inland Australia, including desert, grassland, mallee, and mulga country. It is able to go with out drinking as long as green grass is available and it adapts well to drought. Despite its name, the Red Kangaroo is sometimes a blue-grey color, particularly the female. Even though these animals look cuddly, they are to be approached with caution. They have evolved with a  large claw attached to its hind leg, therefore this makes marsupials very dangerous.
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(Red Kangaroos can be found in the Koala Outback Exhibit)

Special anatomical, physiological or behavioral adaptations: Red Kangaroos can hoop as fast as 40 mph (64 km).  They use this as their first line of defense.  Kangaroos have a tendon in the leg which acts like a rubber band, conserving energy as the animal moves lands.  Red Kangaroos actually expand less energy in locomotion as they move faster, up to very fast speeds. 

{short description of image}Females become sexually mature at 15-20 months old, and males become mature at about 2 years old.  The embryo from the female Kangaroo is virtually pea-size.  Several days before the female gives birth, she begins to clean out her pouch until it is free of debris and dirt.  The Joey (baby/young kangaroo) will resume to stay in the pouch for 235 days.  Inside the pouch there is an adequate amount of nipples for the Joey.  Each nipple is designed to transfer the Joey through the different stages of the growing process.  For example, the first nipple will take care of the Joey for the first couple of weeks and the second nipple will take care of the Joey for the next couple of weeks etc.  The Joey will play a game like peekaboo until he/she gains enough courage to enter the new world.  To get out of the pouch to wander, the Joey is aided by a group of muscles that the female has in the opening o the pouch. 

Red Kangaroos are most active at night and in the few hours after sunrise and sunset.  They forage less and rest more during the day in winter than in the spring or summer.

Comments about the kangaroos of the Fort Worth Zoo. Every time I went to the zoo, I never really had a chance to get a really good glimpse of the kangaroos, either they were eating or they were sleeping.  Something was always going on.  But, once in awhile I did observe their actions and talk to one of the zoo keepers.  They gave me a lot of information about "kangaroos" in general and they also told me about their observations over the actions of these cutsey marsupials.
Personal Observations:   From what I did observe, these animals protected their Joey's constantly.  If one of the other kangaroos approached the Joey's and the parents of the Joey didn't approve of it, them the male of the family would let the visitor know about it.  I also thought that the way the kangaroos used their tails to jump fascinating.

Page author: Ann Seitz

WhoZoo Home
Animal Index
Source list:
Grzimek's Animal Encyclopedia (10)
Red Kangaroos
Philadelphia Zoo:
Animal PostCards: Red Kangaroo
Red Kangaroo at the Hogle Zoo:
Hopping kangaroo image fromKristen's Animated Animals
Australian Animals: Kangaroos