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Scientific Name: Macropus rufus
Chances are if you know anything about Kangaroos it is about the Red Kangaroo species. They seem to be the most common in zoo settings and used in books and other related materials. Many people assume that they have to be red in color to fit this billing. However, they often are brown or gray but with reddish tint to them. That is one reason why people often think they don’t see them.
They have very large ears that often seem out of place for their extremely small heads. Yet they do rely heavily upon their hearing as a method of keeping them out of danger. You will notice that their ears are always in an upright position because they are very tuned into what goes on in their surroundings.
They are large in size compared to other species of Kangaroos out there. The females weight about half of the males that can end up about 200. The females are shorter too with the average size about 4 ½ feet compared to the 6 feet of the males.
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There are so many wonderful elements to consider when it comes to the anatomy of the Red Kangaroo. They certainly are very unique compared to other animals. In fact, when they were first written about most people didn’t believe it. That is why explorers would kill and stuff them. Then they had prove to show about what they were encountering.
The foundation of the body for any Kangaroo has to do with their legs. They have ligaments in them that are very flexible. This is what gives them the spring like action as they hop around. They are able to go about five feet of the ground. Their tails help to thrust them forward for a distance of about fifteen feet.
When they are standing still their tails also help them to be able to remain balanced. They use it to disperse their weight too so that it isn’t all on their legs. This process helps them to save energy.
They do have short upper limbs which feature very sharp claws on them. They can seem out of place compared to the rest of the body. Only the females have a pouch in the stomach area. This is where the joeys will live and where they will be fed.
It can be fun to speculate about where the Red Kangaroo came from. What actions took place millions of years ago that led them down the path we are familiar with for them? Even though there has been quite a bit of digging in this department, the answer is still unknown. We haven’t been able to uncover the fossil remains from the past that link to this particular animal yet.
Some common theories indicate that they may have been part of the possum family at one time. The fact that they do seem able to adapt to just about any situation out there means that plenty of different scenarios may have unfolded in the past for them.
All Kangaroos are nocturnal which means they are mainly active during the night time hours. They tend to rest during the day because of the heat. They can be seen laying around in the shade or even in pits that they have made for themselves when no shade is around.
The size of their group called a mob can vary from just a few members to more than a hundred. Regardless of how many are in it though the overall structure remains the same. A dominant male is the only one able to mate with all of the females in it. The males are often aggressive with each other to take over that status.
The females seem to get along very well within their mobs. They love to care for their young and they are protective of each other. As the female joeys are leaving the pouch they will still remain in close proximity to their mothers.
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The Red Kangaroo is native to Australia and the very dry areas of it. What is particularly interesting is that they will bypass well vegetated areas to live in those that are very bare. It is believed this is part of their survival instinct. They want to be away from where too many other animals happen to reside.
They can travel many miles every single day to find food or water. They also explore their surroundings when they hear noises or see new activities. They are very intelligent animals so they are often interested in finding out what is going on around them. They do get themselves into trouble though from time to time due to their curiosity.
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All Kangaroos are herbivores so finding grass and plant life in their surroundings is what they feed upon. They have some sharp teeth designed to remove the food from the source They also have flat teeth that grind up the food enough that they can wallow it. From there they will regurgitate it, make cud, and then swallow it again. That is a time consuming process so they can spend hours every day eating.
This eating process does result in their teeth getting wore out and then falling out. They are one of the few animals though that have extra in their mouths. When one falls out another will quickly move into that location so they can continue their pattern of eating without it being an interruption. They do drink more water than other types of Kangaroos. This is because the vegetation that they eat is dryer than that of other species out there.
Mating is a process that can occur any time of the year. For the females, they are ready at about four years of age. They do protect the species from overpopulation when there isn’t enough food. They won’t mate or they will prevent the embryo from meeting the uterus for growth. When there is enough food they will continually mate so that they always have at least one joey to care for.
They won’t make the older one leave the pouch for a new arrival. Instead, they can produce milk of different varieties for their young to be able to feed upon. You will likely only see the older joey though peering out of the pouch. The younger one is too small to be noticed just yet.
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The biggest concern for the Red Kangaroo comes in the form of a canine called the Dingo. They are very aggressive animals and have even been known to take human babies from camp sites. The Kangaroos can often put up a good fight but they aren’t always able to get away from such a vicious predator. Even if they aren’t killed, they may be too severely injured to survive.
Of course being hunted by humans for sport or food is very common of the Red Kangaroo too. The Aborigine people have used them for a main source of food for centuries. Yet the reduction in numbers really comes from those that hunt them to clear them from particular areas. They don’t want these animals to be in their way or eating the food from the land.