Kangaroo: where it lives and what it eats

When we talk about kangaroos, the image of this friendly mammal that hops along and protects and carries its baby in its pouch comes to mind. However, there are many more traits, characteristics and habits that define these animals.

Kangaroo characteristics: physical and behavioral

To start talking about this animal, we will focus on the main characteristics of kangaroos :

  • Family: the kangaroo is a mammal of the Macropodidae family .
  • How tall and weigh kangaroos: they can grow to over 2 meters tall and weigh around 85 kilos.
  • Legs and tail: they are characterized by having two strong hind legs that they use to jump and move, as well as a tail that allows them to maintain balance in their movement and gives them a great boost in jumps.
  • Kangaroo pouch: another of the characteristics that defines it is the pouch or pouch that they have in the belly area, in which they house the young during the first months of their life until they develop and reach maturity.
  • Reproduction of kangaroos:this aspect varies according to the kangaroo species. For example, the red kangaroo reproduces only under the most suitable conditions, opportunistically, while the gray kangaroo does so throughout the year and especially in summer. In both species, courtship can last several days, until the male, after following the female, touches or scratches the area of ​​the base of the tail and if she is receptive, mating occurs; If not, continue the courtship or they can go in search of other possible partners. Once the female is pregnant, the pregnancy lasts between 28 and 36 days and there is usually only one baby but there can be up to two. The young are born underdeveloped and move through the mother’s womb until they enter the pouch to spend the time necessary to finish developing there. They can be in the bag for up to 8 months, when they have grown quite a bit and are of a good size. From here, although they already live outside the pouch, they continue to enter to breastfeed for 6 more months. Kangaroos remain with their mothers until they reach sexual maturity.
  • Behavior: regarding their behavior, it should be noted that they tend to live in large groups, which is why they are considered social with those of their own species, generally showing a shy and fearful character, so that they tend to flee at any sound, although they do they feel threatened they can adopt a very aggressive character, using their paws, nails and strength to defend themselves. In addition, it should be noted that they are nocturnal animals.

We can find kangaroos in different countries such as New Guinea, Tasmania and Australia. The kangaroo’s natural habitat is arid areas such as steppes and savannas , although they can also be found in dry forests and grasslands .

On the other hand, we must bear in mind that its distribution depends on the species we are talking about. Thus, while the gray kangaroo is capable of living in many habitats and ecosystems, the red kangaroo is only found in arid areas.

Habitat of the gray kangaroo

Also known as the eastern gray kangaroo or giant kangaroo . It inhabits humid climates and areas more fertile than other species of kangaroos, distributed throughout the south and east of Australia. In fact, they show a preference for areas with alternating grasslands and mountains. They can also be found in coastal areas, subtropical forests, and some mountain scrub.

Like all kangaroos, the gray kangaroo is nocturnal so, during the hottest hours of the day, it is common to find them protecting themselves from the sun under the cover of forests and trees and in the hours when the sun’s rays do not they affect in the same way they move to prairies and grasslands. In any kind of kangaroo, the main ways to protect itself from the sun’s rays are to lick the skin, take advantage of shaded spaces and adopt nocturnal habits in which the sun is not present.

Habitat of the red kangaroo 

This kangaroo lives in the most arid areas of the Australian continent, avoiding precisely those more humid and fertile in which it is possible to find the gray kangaroo. In this way, their distribution includes scrublands, grasslands and deserts , being accustomed, therefore, to living under extreme temperatures and climatic conditions. Some of the adaptations that they present are in the facility to store water and the ability of their kidneys not to get rid of it in a short time, ensuring the least loss of this resource.

In addition, it should be noted that all species are sedentary , which means that they are always in the same area or defined territory. However, drastic changes in their habitat, whether caused by humans or by nature itself, can cause them to move and travel great distances in search of a new habitat.

What do kangaroos eat: feeding

Kangaroos are herbivorous animals that feed on leaves, vegetables and roots , their favorite food being herbs . Thanks to their incisors they cut the grass and chew it repeatedly in order to facilitate the digestive process, since their stomach is very large and can hold large amounts of food.

On the other hand, as they live in arid and hot areas, they need water to hydrate themselves and they drink whenever they find this element at their disposal. However, as they eat vegetables, they are also able to obtain water from them, so they are able to endure long periods of time without drinking water .

The two main species of kangaroos that we have discussed in this article, the gray kangaroo and the red kangaroo , are listed as Least Concern or Least Concearn , according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species., which is the body in charge of registering the status of the species. Therefore, in general, we can say that they are not in danger of extinction. Although, anyway, experts insist that the situation has a tendency to worsen and that there are more and more forest fires, mainly due to the high temperatures that continue to increase every year. These fires kill animals, including kangaroos, and reduce their habitat, so experts believe that if they continue like this and adding more factors related to human activity, it is likely that in a few years they will enter a state of danger of extinction.

On the other hand, if we look at many other species of kangaroos, wallabies (very close to kangaroos, but smaller than these) and other marsupials, there are several species that are in danger of extinction . Some are:

  • Goodfellow tree kangaroo
  • Huon’s tree kangaroo
  • Doria tree kangaroo
  • Tenkile

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