Extreme Athletes – the Kangaroo

The red kangaroo is the world's largest marsupial

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KangarooFemales have one baby at a time, which at birth is smaller than a cherry.  After birth, the  infant (called joeys) will climb into its mother’s pouch and won’t emerge again for two months!

During their first  eight months, threatened kangaroos will dive for safety in the mum’s pouch.  And as they grow, joeys’ heads and feet can often be seen hanging out of the pouch.

Red kangaroos hop along on their powerful hind legs and do so at great speed.  They can reach speeds of over 35 miles an hour, jump 6 feet high and can cover 25 feet in a single leap.

Female red kangaroos are smaller, lighter, and faster than males. They also boast a blue-hued coat, so many Australians call them “blue fliers.”

Larger male kangaroos are powerfully built, and like many species, will fight over potential mates. They often lean back on their sturdy tail and “box” each other with their strong hind legs.  Kangaroos can also bite and wield sharp claws, which they may do in battle with an enemy like a dingo.

Kangaroos live in Australia’s deserts and open grasslands, gathering in groups called mobs.  Many millions of these animals roam Australia, and considerable numbers are killed each year for their skins and meat, which is becoming a more popular human food.

Top Facts

  • Mammal
  • Herbivore
  • Average life span in the wild – up to 23 years
  • Size – 3.25 to 5.25 ft
  • Weight – 200 lbs

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