Kids love animals and birds. Whenever they come across new animals (yes, the ones they have never seen before), they are curious to learn about them. Kangaroos are interesting animals; their appearance and the way they hop around make them quite unique. If you want to teach your kids about kangaroos, read this article.
Interesting Facts About Kangaroos for Your Children
Here is a list of fun facts about kangaroos for kids:
- Kangaroos are basically mammals that belong to the family Macropodidae. Other animals in the same family include wallaroos, wallabies, tree kangaroos, pademelons and forest wallabies. They also belong to the category of animals called marsupials; the animals that carry their offspring in a pouch.
- Kangaroos are not found anywhere else in the world except Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. Some were introduced to other places such as New Zealand and Hawaii by humans. Australia has the world’s largest population of kangaroos and the number is increasing every year.
- Different species of kangaroo prefer different types of habitat. They are mostly found in the woodlands, savannah deserts, grassy plains, rocky ledges, and cliffs.
- Kangaroos can move around quickly by hopping. They have well developed and powerful hind legs that help them hop around. They use their large muscular tails to manoeuvre while moving and also to maintain balance. While it’s common to see their hind limbs move simultaneously for hopping, they can kick them independently to swim.
- Although hopping doesn’t sound too fast a way to move, kangaroos can hop as fast as 48 km/h. They can also jump surprisingly high and cover a lot of ground in one hop. Red kangaroos can cover up to 8m in one leap and jump as high as 3m.
- Kangaroos have developed eyes that can see objects that move; their eyesight is good only to track moving objects. They also have a sharp sense of hearing and can swivel their external ears to pick up sounds from all directions.
- Kangaroos are herbivores; they graze grass most of the time as well as the leaves of selected desert plants, flowers, ferns moss etc. They can also survive without drinking water for a long period of time. Sometimes even months.
- Kangaroos are primarily nocturnal; they spend the night grazing and moving from place to place. They rest in the shade during the day when it gets really hot.
- Kangaroos are not solitary; they are social. They normally live in ‘mobs’ of two or three individuals. Sometimes the population in a mob can go up to 100.
- A male kangaroo is known as a boomer, buck, old man or jack. A female kangaroo is referred to as jill, doe, or flyer. A baby kangaroo is known as a joey.
- The females normally give birth to one baby (joey) every year. The joey develops inside the pouch for nine months, and they suckle from the outside till they are 12 to 17 months of age. Newborn joeys are tiny little pink blobs.
- Females can nurture up to 3 joeys at a time.
- The gestation period of kangaroos on an average is 30 days. In comparison, humans have a gestation period of 9 months. Kangaroos also have a remarkable ability to control the start of their gestation period if they already have a joey in the pouch.
- Male kangaroos fight for females in a kick-boxing fashion using their muscular front limbs and powerful hind legs. A male kangaroo can kick and punch to defeat the other male. Although the front limbs can’t cause serious injury, the hind legs can give dangerous blows with the sharp toenails.
- Male Kangaroos have muscular bodies and well-developed limb muscles that they display as a courtship gesture. They also flex their muscles to intimidate rival males.
- Kangaroos can grow to enormous sizes. The Red Kangaroo species can grow over 2 meters tall (6 feet) and weigh over 90 kilos. Different species differ in height, and the males are always taller than the females.
- The male red kangaroos are normally 1.4m tall and the female red kangaroos are 1.1m tall. The weight of males is between 40 kgs and 90 kgs. The females weigh between 18 kgs and 40 kgs.
- For animals so big, kangaroos have a relatively short life span. Most species can live for an average of 6 years in the wild and around 20 years in captivity. Red Kangaroos can have a lifespan of 16 years in the wild and live up to 22 years in captivity.
- The population of kangaroos has increased steadily over the last decade. It was 27 million in 2010 and 42 million in 2016.
- There are four species of kangaroos: the red kangaroo, the antilopine kangaroo, the eastern grey kangaroo and the western grey kangaroo.
- Kangaroos have few natural predators. The young ones often fall prey to dingos, fox, or eagles. However, humans kill more kangaroos for meat.
- Kangaroos can be kept as pet animals in Australia and America. They can, however, be dangerous when they feel threatened and may attack viciously to defend themselves.
- Kangaroos are also good swimmers; they are known to swim in waters 20ft deep. They paddle themselves by kicking each hind limb independently.
Kangaroos are fascinating creatures in the way they move, their physical build, and how they stand on two legs similar to humans and put up a fight! They are also social and caring animals who prefer living in groups.