Scientific Name: Macropus rufus

Range: Central Australia

Habitat: Prefer open plains; often found in the shade of trees or underneath shrubs during the day

Diet: Herbivorous, eating mainly grasses and flowers.

Life Span: Wild: 8 years; Captivity: 20 years

Description: Male red kangaroos have soft, reddish fur, and are 6 feet (1.8 m) tall, and weigh up to 150 pounds (67.5 kg). Females have soft, grayish fur, and are 4 feet (1.2 m) tall, and weigh up to 80 pounds (36 kg). Red kangaroos have very muscular hind legs which they use to hop around. These legs cannot move independently of each other, and therefore the kangaroo must “hop.” The males use their hind legs for kick boxing other males during the breeding season. They also have very long, muscular tails, which are used for balance. The forelimbs are short, and end in dexterous paws, which are used for grazing, eating, and self-defense. The second and third toes are fused into a shape that is especially useful for grooming.

Family Life: Gestation only lasts 33 days, and then a 2.5 centimeter joey is born. It climbs up into the mother’s pouch and attaches itself to her nipple, where it will remain for 33 weeks. An average of 3 young is produced every 2 years. Red kangaroos are nocturnal, and feed in groups of 10 individuals. These are not family groups, but just groups of kangaroos that happen to be feeding in the same location. Feeding starts around dusk, and continues until the early morning, when they will graze on grass. During the hot hours of the day, the groups will remain in the shade of bushes and trees.

Status in the Wild: Red Kangaroos are Low Risk in the wild; however, they are considered pests by many farmers, because they compete for foraging plants with livestock.

Nature Notes: Kangaroos can hop as long as 28 feet, and as high as 6 feet. An average hop is about 6 feet. They can reach speeds of 30 mph, and they can jump for long periods of time at speeds of 12 mph.

Basic Husbandry Cost: Food 1000/125 H x3