Many people know the basic kangaroo facts. These marsupials live in Australia, jump around with their baby Joeys in a pouch, and have potent tails. Learn more about these incredible creatures with these little known and fascinating facts.
Some have said that the name “kangaroo” is derived from an Aboriginal phrase meaning “I don’t know.” Not so. Although their name did stem from the Aboriginal language, “kangaroo” has initially been “Kanguru” and was the native’s description of the grey kangaroo.
Baby kangaroos are called joeys; their fathers are called jacks, bucks, or boomers and their mothers, jills, flyers, or does. So you would have a family of a jack, a jill, and a joey all bounding across the open plains of Australia.
Baby kangaroos are born after only 31 – 36 days of gestation. They are tiny, pink, hairless animals that don’t come off of their mother’s teat for weeks.
Interesting Kangaroo Facts
Did you know that there are also tree kangaroos and forest wallabies in Papua New Guinea, as well as some feral species of kangaroos that have been introduced as far as the U.K. and Hawaii?
Kangaroos often live in groups called “mobs” of about ten animals, including one dominant male.
The largest of the kangaroo family is the Red Kangaroo, who can grow up to 6 feet tall and weigh 200 pounds.
When the buck comes leaping, it can jump to 25 feet in height or 10 feet in height. Couple those jumps with a top speed of almost 40 miles per hour, and this animal is a force to be reckoned with.
The smaller Eastern Grey Kangaroo can jump even farther when it wants to, up to 29 feet in one leap. These are the most common kangaroos seen in Australia and prefer the forest or wetlands along the east, south, and southwestern portions of the continent.
Indeed, kangaroos cannot move backward, which they must find rather inconvenient when they jump beyond somewhere.
They can’t move their back feet independently on land, but when swimming, they can kick one foot at a time. Strange, but true.
Kangaroos are herbivores and eat only plant material. Some have a system similar to a cow’s and regurgitate their food.
They are also like camels in that some have adapted to needing very little water for survival.
They sleep or rest during the day and are active at collecting food and being social at night, especially twilight and very early morning.
Well, known kangaroo facts include their habit of “boxing” and their dangerously sharp toenails. Most boxing is done partially in play and partly as a show or fight for dominance between males. The fight can get ugly, though, if those claws are used. Kangaroos have been known to disembowel an opponent with toenail slashes.
Strange Kangaroo Facts
Two other strange kangaroo facts are: the doe can mate and become pregnant directly after a joey is born. Yet, the development of that pregnancy will wait or pause after a few days, restarting when the first baby kangaroo is lost or leaves the pouch (up to nine months).
Then, in a fascinating display of motherhood, the doe will develop two different kinds of milk, one in each teat, to feed her two offspring – high in carbohydrate milk for the older and high in fat milk for the younger joey.
People worldwide are captivated by the kangaroo – its power, strength, beauty, and lifestyle. You can be confident that these little known kangaroo facts will only fuel your hunger to learn more, to visit, and to study this incredible animal.