- Education and Science»
- Life Sciences
Kangaroos: Facts, Pictures, and Gift Ideas
The Hopping Kangaroo
Kangaroo gifts are a fantastic idea for any animal lover. Kangaroos are so popular that they are on the Australian coat of arms, currency, and on Qantas airplanes. But how much do you really know about this familiar marsupial? Did you know there are dozens of species of kangaroo? Or that they can hop up to 70 km/hour (44 mph)? If these facts surprise you or you want to learn more about this amazing animal, read on! Along the way you'll find some cute kangaroo gifts that you just might find irresistible.
Image from allposters.com
Adorable Baby Kangaroo
Take a look at this cute video of an adorable joey who has found an adopted family. Guaranteed to make you smile!
Cool Kangaroo Gifts - Something for everyone
If you know someone who loves kangaroos, or if you love them, here's some items that every collection needs! They're unique and interesting, but also have a practical side so they're not just a frivolous gift. If you're looking for the perfect Christmas or birthday gift, try a kangaroo themed gift.
Behaviour and Biology
Many regions of Australia have a harsh climate. Few creatures can survive in these regions, but the kangaroo has adapted to not only survive, but to thrive. Because so much of the country is covered by desert, water is sometimes hard to come by. Kangaroos needed a way to find these water sources, so they evolved with a unique ability: hopping.
For humans, hopping is one of the slowest ways of getting around. Many of us can't even stay upright if we try to hop for very long. Kangaroos, on the other hand, use this as their main means of transport. In fact, they are the only large animals who have developed this ability. They can hop up to 70 km/hour (44 mph) when they need to, though they can only maintain this speed for short distances. Regardless, that is faster than most city speed limits! They can travel at 40 km/hour (25 mph) for up to 2 km (1.2 miles). Red kangaroos can hop for much longer distances at 20-25 km/hour (13-16 mph).
While we may see this as difficult, it is actually a very efficient way for kangarros to get around. Once they get going, they build momentum and can hop very easily. When moving at slower speeds, kangaroos form a tripod with their forelimbs and their tail, then use their strong hind legs to propell them forward.
Another incredible adaptation is the female's ability to halt the development of her embryo. The gestation period of a kangaroo is only 31-36 days (about 5 weeks). When the female gives birth, the joey is very small and underdeveloped. It crawls into its mother's pouch and lives there until it is strong enough to come out. In the meantime, the mother has concieved another embryo. If there is a period of drought or food shortage, she is able to halt the development of that embryo until her joey is able to leave her pouch.
Because Australia has such a hot climate, kangaroos spend most of the day lounging in the shade. They are most active at dawn and dusk, when it is coolest. This allows them to conserve their water supply for maximum effeciency.
A baby kangaroo is called a joey. When a joey is born, it is still underdeveloped. It is only 2 cm long and weighs less than 1 gram. It looks a great deal like a small, wrinkled jelly bean at this stage. It crawls into its mother's pouch and latches onto one of her teats, which expands to hold the little joey in place.
The joey remains in its mother's pouch, further developing, for a few more weeks. When it is ready, it begins to come out of the pouch for periods of time, eventually leaving the pouch altogether when it is about 7-10 months old.
A kangaroo's gestation periods is about 1 month. However, the joey may in fact be conceived before this time. When a female kangaroo conceives, the embryo develops for about a week, then stalls until her current joey is out of her pouch. When her pouch is free, the embryo resumes development. This is a handy adaptation that gives the kangaroo a better chance of survival.
Image by Toby Hudson and is used under GNU and Creative Commons licences.
Kangaroo's Survival in the Outback - A fascinating video
Take a look at this BBC video of how kangaroos survive in the Australian Outback. It's got some great videos of kangaroos hopping so you can really get an idea of how fast they can go. Kangaroos are amazing creatures and there's an endless amount to learn about them.
These amazing animals can hop at speeds of 70 km/hour (44 mph)!
Have you seen a kangaroo? - Let us know here
Have you ever seen a kangaroo in person?
Species of Kangaroo
There's more than you think
There are dozens of species of kangaroo. Here are just a few:
The largest species of kangaroo is the red kangaroo. They live in the centre of Australia, in the hot desert climate. Males can reach 6 feet 7 inches (2 metres) in height and weight up to 200 pounds (90kg).
Eastern Grey Kangaroo
This species lives in the fertile eastern areas of Australia, and is therefore the species most often seen in the wild.
Western Grey Kangaroo
This species is much smaller, with males reaching 119 pounds (54kg). However, that is still a decent size. It lives in the southern part of Western Australia and Southern Australia.
They are similar to the eastern and western kangaroos, living in the woodlands and grassy plains, but they live in the northern part of the country.
There are also many smaller species of kangaroo, including wallabies. Seen above is a wallaby at The Koala Park Sanctuary in Sydney.
Image belongs to author
Kangaroo Posters and Wall Art - Adorn your walls...
Take a look at these fantastic kangaroo posters and wall art. There's great options for adults or kids.
Kangaroo Stuffed Animals - A cuddly friend
If you're a kangaroo fan, a cuddly stuffed animal is a cute way of incorporating them into your home. Or maybe you have a child in your life who would love one!
More Kangaroo Sites - Tons more info
Here's a list of other kangaroo sites you can explore! There's lots of great information and pictures out there, so make sure you check some of them out.
- Save the Kangaroo
Find out what you can do to help stop cruelty against kangaroos. In particular, there is a petition to stop the use of kangaroo leather in the EU. Take a look at this very important website!
- National Geographic
As always, National Geographic shines with great info and images. They also provide links to their sites on other breeds of kangaroo.
- Enchanted Learning
This is a great resource for teachers who are interested in doing a lesson on kangaroos.
It doesn't seem to have a way to navigate through the site, but it still has a lot of great pictures and info, so is worth a look anyway.