Kangaroos are large marsupials. They live in Australia. They are a subtype of mammals. Their ears are long and pointed, they have large feet and strong back legs, short fur, and muscular tails. Like all mammals, the female kangaroos nurse their young. They have mammary glands in a pouch on their front. The babies live in these pouches until they grow big enough to live outside their mother.
Other members of the same family as the kangaroos are tree kangaroos, wallabies, quokkas, and pademelons. Usually, four species of kangaroos are most well-known: the red kangaroo, the western gray kangaroo, the eastern gray kangaroo and the antilopine kangaroo. Because they are the largest of the kangaroos, they are called the 'great kangaroos.'
The red kangaroo is the largest kangaroo. Its length could be seven feet. A red kangaroo might weigh two hundred pounds. The smallest kangaroo is the musky-rat kangaroo. He weighs about twelve ounces and is eleven to fourteen inches long.
Kangaroos live in Australia. Each usually live in a different area. In northeastern Queensland, the musky-rat kangaroo likes to snuggle on the ground in the rainforests. Gray kangaroos live in the forests of Tasmania and Australia. In the wooded areas of northern of Australia are found the antilopine kangaroos. Tree kangaroos live on New Guinea and in the rainforests of Queensland. They live in the upper branches of trees.
Kangaroos are unique because they are the only large animals who hop to move around. Their forearms are not very strong. They use their strong hind legs and feet. They can jump up to fifteen feet and travel up to thirty miles per hour. Their usual speed is twenty. When they are looking for food, they move slower and use their tail like a leg to push off the ground.
Kangaroos live in a group called a mob, herd or troop. They are very social animals. They will protect each other from danger. A kangaroo will stomp its foot on the ground to warn others if it senses danger. If it must fight, it will box and kick an opponent.
Kangaroos are herbivores. They eat only vegetation like grasses, ferns, moss, flowers, and leaves. However, they do sometimes eat insects. Kangaroos chew their food and swallow it, then bring it up and chew it again before it is completely digested. Cows do the same thing.
Most everyone knows that a mother kangaroo carries her babies in a pouch. A mother is pregnant for twenty-one to thirty-eight days. She may have up to four babies, but usually less. The baby is called a joey. It may be as small as a grain of rice or as big as a bee. It goes right into the pouch where it continues to grow for 120-450 days.
The joeys live this time totally in the pouch. They nurse from their mother and get rid of waste inside the pouch also. From time to time, the mother must clean out the pouch by licking it with her tongue. Females will be fully grown between 14 and 24 months. Males need two years.
Some species of tree kangaroos and rat kangaroos are on the warning list of being threatened with extinction. The desert rat kangaroo and the Nullarbor dwarf bettong are extinct. The great kangaroos are not in any danger, however.
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