No image of modern Australia’s landscape is complete without a mob of kangaroos hopping across the horizon. They really are a fascinating animal in all aspects off their ecological evolution, as they have specialized to Australia’s harsh environment throughout time.
Easily spooked and generally very shy in nature, they are rather tame at Woody Head.
They even seem to pose in front off me. This gave me the opportunity to observe these iconic marsupials with my camera. OM-D, how cute are they?
These are some of the kangaroo’s amazing facts. Kangaroos belong to the Macropodidae family, meaning ‘bigfoot’ in Latin, in reference to the species’ unusually large hind feet. They are not related to the mythical Bigfoot in Northern America though.
The name kangaroo originates from the Guugu Yimithirr people of Far North Queensland and was first recorded on paper by Captain Cook. Kangaroos are of cultural and spiritual significance to Aboriginal people across Australia. Plus, their meat was, and continues to be, a staple protein source; pelts were used for clothing and rugs, and their skin crafted into water bags.
In modern Australia, they appear on planes of the Royal Airforce and Australia’s largest airline. Kangaroos can’t move backward. It’s for this reason that the Australian coat of arms features the emu and the kangaroo: two animals that can only move forwards as symbols of national progress. In contrast, meats of both animals can be found in butcheries.
The difference between kangaroos and wallabies is distinguished by size and goes down to wallaroos, pademelons on Tasmania and quokkas in Western Australia.
All kangaroos have short hair, powerful hind legs, small forelimbs, big feet, and a long tail.
They have excellent hearing and keen eyesight.
Depending on the species, their fur coat can be red, grey or light to dark brown.
Kangaroos are famous for their means off locomotion. They are the only hopping large animal in the world and can reach quick burst up to 70 km/h, jumping up to 8 meters with a single leap. Whilst cruising for a few kilometers at only 40 km/h. Their long and powerful tail is what the trunk is to elephants; a multifunctional tool.
It keeps their balance when moving at high speed and they can, therefore, change direction almost immediately.
Whilst grazing, their long tail acts like a tripod with their front paws.
A more casual dinner approach it seems.
In breeding season or in attacking mode, kangaroos ‘sit’ on their tail and kick their muscular hind feet against an opponent. Their sharp claws can rip through thick fur.
Like all marsupials, kangaroos have pouches where the joeys are reared, drinking milk from mammary glands. Females have one young annually however they’re able to keep extra embryos in a dormant state until the first joey leaves the pouch.
They can have a joey at their feet, one in the pouch and another in diapause all at the same time. Incredibly, each of the female’s four teats provides different milk for the different stages of the joeys’ development.
Kangaroos hiss and growl when alarmed, females make clicking noises to communicate with their offspring, and males ‘chuckle’ during courtship.
They appear to spend a lot of time scratching as parasites are easy to come by in the bush.
Kangaroos are most active between dusk and dawn, as they search for their favourite foods:
grass, as well as leaves, ferns, flowers, fruit, and moss.
Like cattle, they regurgitate their food, chewing it twice before it passes through their chambered stomach.
Dominant males, called bucks or boomers, keep an eye out for potential danger or rivals.
Whilst mothers, called flyers, doe or jills are grazing with their offspring, called joeys, side by side. Joeys can spend up to 7 months in mom’s pouch, before leaving the pouch for the last time.
It appears to be more a case for mom kicking the youngster out.
Nice to have a break too.
What’s that Skip? There are more kangaroos on the paddock? Oh no….