Defenders of Wildlife
1130 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Vulnerable, except for the Tasmanian forester kangaroo, which is listed as
endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
Kangaroos have powerful hind legs and short, thumbless forelimbs. Kangaroos
can travel at speeds up to 30 miles per hour and can leap some 30 feet.
Kangaroos use their long tails for balancing. Their bodies are covered in
thick, coarse, wooly hair that can be shades of gray, brown or red. Kangaroos
are marsupials, which means that females carry newborns, or "joeys,"
in a pouch on the front of their abdomens.
Red and gray kangaroos stand between five and
six feet tall. Most weigh between 50 and 120 pounds, though some can reach 200
pounds. Female kangaroos are generally smaller than males of the same species.
Macropus giganteus (eastern gray
Macropus fuliginosus (western gray kangaroo): 1,774,000.
Macropus rufus (red kangaroo): 8,351,000.
On average, kangaroos live in the wild for six to eight years.
Kangaroos are found in Australia and Tasmania, as well as on surrounding
Kangaroos live in varied habitats, from forests
and woodland areas to grassy plains and savannas.
Kangaroos are grazing herbivores, which means
their diet consists mainly of grasses. They can survive long periods without
Kangaroos live and travel in organized groups or "mobs," dominated
by the largest male.
Usually, female kangaroos give birth to one joey at a time. Newborns weigh as
little as 0.03 ounces at birth. After birth, the joey crawls into its motherís
pouch, where it will nurse and continue to grow and develop. Red kangaroo
joeys do not leave the pouch for good until they are more than eight months
old. Gray kangaroo joeys wait until they are almost a year old.
Humans hunt kangaroos for their meat and hides. Also, the introduction of
domestic herbivores, such as sheep, cattle and rabbits increases competition
for many plants and may cause food scarcity in times of drought.
The Tasmanian forester kangaroo is listed as
endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.