RED KANGAROO – Macropus rufus

red kangaroo

Physical characteristics: Red kangaroos have fur that is reddish brown to blue-gray on most of their body, while their fur is white underneath. Red kangaroos have a head and body length that varies from 29 to 55 inches (74 to 140 centimeters). Their tail length is 25 to 39 inches (64 to 100 centimeters). Their weight varies between 37 and 187 pounds (17 to 85 kilograms). These are the largest kangaroos living today.

Geographic range: Most of Australia, except the coastal regions.

Habitat: Red kangaroos live in grasslands, open woodlands, and open forests.

Diet: Red kangaroos are herbivores. They eat grass and the leaves of shrubs and other plants.

Behavior and reproduction: Red kangaroos are pregnant for 33 days before giving birth. The young live in the pouch for 235 days.

Red kangaroos and people: Red kangaroos are hunted for their skins and meat in some places in Australia. The red kangaroo also has important cultural significance for native Australians, in whose traditional dreamtime stories they often play large parts.

Conservation status: Red kangaroos are not considered threatened. They have benefited from clearing of land for livestock grazing and are one of the few native Australian animals to have increased their population since the coming of European settlers.

 

EASTERN GRAY KANGAROO – Macropus giganteus

Physical characteristics: Eastern gray kangaroos have a head and body length that ranges from 38 to 91 inches (97 to 231 centimeters). Their tails range in length from 18 to 43 inches (46 to 109 centimeters). They weigh from 8 to 146 pounds (4 to 66 kilograms). Eastern gray kangaroos have the characteristic body shape of all kangaroos with strong hind legs and large back feet. They have grayish brown fur that is paler on their bellies. Unlike other kangaroos, they have hairy snouts.

Geographic range: The eastern gray kangaroo lives in eastern Australia and in eastern Tasmania.

Habitat: The eastern gray kangaroo lives mainly in grassy woodlands, open grasslands, and forest.

Diet: The eastern gray kangaroo eats mainly grasses.

Behavior and reproduction: The eastern gray kangaroo is diurnal. It usually grazes during the early morning and late afternoon when temperatures are lower. Pregnancy usually lasts for thirty-six days, and the young stay in the pouch for 320 days.

Eastern gray kangaroos and people: It is thought that native Australians probably hunted the eastern gray kangaroo for food. Today, it is illegally hunted for skins and meat.

Conservation status: The eastern gray kangaroo is considered Near Threatened. This classification means that this kangaroo is not currently threatened, but could become threatened. This kangaroo has been affected by illegal hunting for its skins and meat, as well as the destruction of its habitat for agriculture.