Red Kangaroo

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Range:
Red Kangaroos are distributed across most of Central Australia.

Habitat:
Prefer semi-arid plains, scrublands, grasslands, sparse woodlands, and open forest area.

Distinguishing characteristics:
Red Kangaroos are the largest living marsupials and the largest native mammals in Australia.
Males and females are considerably dimorphic, both in size and color.
Males grow up to a height of 5.5 ft, with a tail nearly 4 ft long. Females average 3 to 3.5 ft. tall with a tail length of 26 to 33 in. Females can weigh 40 to 88 lbs, with males typically weighing between 120 to 190 lbs.
Red Kangaroos also vary in color from red brown to gray. Males have richer coloring with females being more often gray.
Adult Red Kangaroos are distinguished from other kangaroos by a black and white patch on the side of the muzzle and a white stripe extending from the corner of the mouth to the base of each ear.
These kangaroos have powerful hind legs and have been known to reach a running speed of 40 mph. They can leap as far as 26 ft. in length and nearly 10 feet high. Tails are used for balance.

DIETARY CLASSIFICATION:
Diet in Zoo: Grain, greens (lettuce, etc.), sweet potatoes and apples.
Diet in Wild: Red Kangaroos are primarily grazers, feeding almost exclusively on grasses, herbs, and leaves.

REPRODUCTION:
Breeding season/period: Females reach sexual maturity at 14-20 months and males at 20-24 months. Breeding occurs throughout the year and is dependent on rainfall and adequate vegetation. Females will conceive only if there is sufficient rainfall to support adequate vegetation. Sexually mature females without a suckling Joey breed at 35 day intervals throughout the year. The dominant male breeds with several females.

Gestation/incubation: Gestation period is 33 days, then the young kangaroo climbs unaided into the pouch within minutes of birth. Pouch life is 235 days with young beginning to protrude from the pouch at 150 days and emerge occasionally starting at 190 days. Joeys leave the pouch permanently at 235 days but are not weaned until 1 year of age.

Offspring: Red Kangaroos usually produce 1 offspring at a time. Sexually mature females living in areas with adequate resources will produce 3 young every 2 years on average.

LONGEVITY:
Red Kangaroos in the wild are believed to have an average lifespan of about 8 to 10 years and up to 20 years in captivity.

BEHAVIOR/ADAPTATIONS:
Red Kangaroos are crepuscular (most active in early morning and evenings). They are social animals living in small groups of 2-10 individuals. These groups, known as "mobs", are made up of mostly females and their young with one or more males. The groups are semi-nomadic and will stay in their own range when adequate grazing is available. Groups have been known to travel as much as 200 miles during droughts to find food and water. Red Kangaroos are also sometimes found in groups as large as 1500 individuals at water holes.
Red Kangaroos have a highly developed sense of smell which they use to detect water.
Males are called "boomers" and females are known as "blue flyers" due to their usual blue gray color.

PREDATORS: Due to their large size adult Red Kangaroos have few predators. They are hunted by people for meat and skins and also are preyed on by Dingoes. Joeys sometimes are taken by raptors.

CONSERVATION STATUS: Not threatened. In fact, Red Kangaroos have expanded their distribution and population numbers in some areas in response to development of pastures and artificial water sources.