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Red Kangaroo

Red Kangaroo Facts

Size Up to 6.8 ft (210 cm)(when standing)
Speed Up to 34 mph (55 km/h)
Weight 48-188 lb (22-85 kg)
Lifespan 4-18 years
Food Plants, grass, herbs
Predators Dingos
Habitat Australia
Order Diprotodontia
Family Macropodidae
Scientific name Macropus rufus
Characteristics Long hind legs, short front legs, sturdy tail

Main Characteristics

There exist about 65 species of kangaroos in the world. They include the small hare wallabies, the cuddly tree-kangaroos, the rock wallabies, and the grey and the red kangaroo. Even the sweet quokka is a kangaroo. It always seems to be smiling.They live in Australia and New Guinea. Kangaroos live in tropical rainforests, bush or grasslands, dry steppes and desert and rock regions.

Red Kangaroo Photo: Jeremy Red/Shutterstock

Senses and Abilities

How Kangaroos Jump

The faster a kangaroo jumps the less energy it consumes. This is due to an elastic tendon in their hind legs. When the kangaroo touches the ground, it stretches, rebounds and thus catapults the kangaroo into the air – like a spiral spring. Handy! Different to most other bipeds, they do not use their feet alternately but always hop along with both legs at the same time.


How Far Can Kangaroos Jump?

Red kangaroos can cover a distance of 26-29.5 feet (8-9 meters) with one jump und reach a height of 6.5-10 feet (2-3 meters). The grey kangaroo can jump even further. It manages distances of up to 44 feet (13.5 meters) with one jump and is the second-tallest kangaroo after the red kangaroo.

Why Can't Kangaroos Walk Backwards?

Because of the special shape of their feet. Besides, their tail would be in the way. They can not run anyway. You can only jump!

Can Kangaroos Swim?


Red Kangaroo Red Kangaroos - Photo: dmvphotos/Shutterstock

Anatomy and Appearance

The Biggest and the Smallest Kangaroo

The red kangaroo is the tallest kangaroo and also the tallest living marsupial. From head to rump it measures 4.2 to 5.2 feet (130-160 cm), the tail 3.2-3.9 feet (100-120 cm), and it weighs 48-188 lb (22-85 kg) (male kangaroo). When it stands upright, it can be up to 6.8 feet (210 cm) tall.


With a body length of 8.2-13.3 inch (21-34 cm), the musky rat-kangaroo is the smallest kangaroo. Its tail is 2.3-4.7 inch (6-12 cm) long and it weighs 0.7-1.4 lb (340-680 g).

Does a Male Kangaroo Have a Pouch?

No, only female kangaroos have a pouch.

Red Kangaroo Red Kangaroos - Photo: John Carnemolla/Shutterstock

Enemies and Threats

Are Kangaroos an Endangered Species?

Red kangaroos are no endangered species. But many other kangaroo species are considered to be "vulnerable" or even "endangered", eg. many rock, tree and bush kangaroos.

Where Does the Word Kangaroo Come From?

How the kangaroo has got its name is really a fascinating story: The British mariner James Cook spent some time in Australia in 1770, saw the predecessors of the kangaroo and asked in English: “What animal is this?” The Aborigines answered in their language: “Kangaroo!” Which means “I don’t understand” in their language.

Red Kangaroo Photo: FairFoto/Shutterstock


After a short gestation period of about 33 days, the young kangaroo is born. At this moment it is only 0.98 inch (2.5 cm) long and weighs about 0.02 oz (0.8 g). It is smaller and lighter than a cherry. It is naked, blind and completely defenseless. Therefore it climbs into the pouch of its mother after birth, where it can grow up well protected. After about 190 days it leaves the pouch for the first time. At the age of 18 months it is fully grown up.

Not all Red Kangaroos are Red

That's true. The female red kangaroos are more of a blue grey color. In order to impress the kangaroo ladies, male red kangaroos dye their coat red. Fortunately they don’t have to go to the supermarket to buy some hair tint. Their skin gives off some kind of red powder.

Fun Facts

Kangaroos Smell like Mice, Coffee, and Curry

Red kangaroos smell like mice. Eastern grey kangaroos smell like coffee beans, and western grey kangaroos of curry spices.

The Red Kangaroo Is Related To:

Animals in the Same Biome:

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