They have sweet faces and tough guy moves. Kangaroo mothers carry their babies (called joeys) around in their pouches, making them a kind of animal called a marsupial. And, that's only the start of their strangeness. Read on to learn more about these amazing creatures from Australia's outback.
Do kangaroos really box?
Yes, they do! The male red kangaroos are very big (up to 175 pounds) and love to box. Don't get on the wrong side of one.
Do all kangaroos have pouches?
No, only the females have pouches.
How far can a kangaroo hop?
According to the Indianapolis Zoo, one of the longest hops measured was 40 feet.
Are kangaroos endangered?
Yes and no. There are about 20 million red and gray kangaroos. They are so many of them now because there are fewer dingoes (wild dogs) hunting them. Also, ranchers make water more widely available for their livestock, and kangaroos benefit from that. The Tasmanian forester kangaroo is listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Tasmania does not consider it to be endangered.
More Kangaroo Quips
- Kangaroos only sweat while they are hopping. When they stop exercising, they pant, just like dogs do.
- A kangaroo mother may have a newborn joey and a much older baby (called a yearling) nursing at the same time. Each one will get milk that is formulated to suit him best nutritionally.
- Strangely, kangaroos burn less energy the faster they hop… up to 20 miles per hour.
- A group of kangaroos is called a mob.
- A male kangaroo is called a buck, a boomer, or an old man. A female kangaroo is called a doe or a flyer.
- For a long time, people thought the word kangaroo meant "I don't know" in an aboriginal Australian language. Probably, the word comes from gangurru, a native name for one kind of kangaroo.
We have Lassie. Australians have Skippy.
Skippy the Bush Kangaroo was a popular television series in the 1960s. Like Lassie, Skippy looked after her human family. In reality, pet kangaroos raised as pets from a young age have been known to help people in trouble.
Hopping around the Web
Learn more about Kangaroos with these Web sites. Also, be sure to check out our Kangaroos Are Cool bibliography for more marsupial madness.
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Kangaroos
A serious site with a lot of facts for older readers from the National Wildlife Federation.
Heart Kangaroo Paper Craft
Use the kangaroo template to print out designs for a terrific craft. A good choice for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, or anytime you want to tell Mom you love her.
If you're crazy for kangaroos, this printable stationery will make sure you send that message to your friends.
Instructions for a hopping game of tag, inspired by our favorite marsupials.
National Geographic Coloring Book: Red Kangaroo Picture
This coloring page shows how a joey grows in its mother's pouch. Click on "Enlarge to Print" for the full picture.
Outback Adventure Party
Family Fun has gathered together lots of tricks and tips to make your next summer party or birthday party seem like a grand adventure in the Outback.
The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo
In this rhythmic, Just-So story from Rudyard Kipling, Old Man Kangaroo gets what he deserves when he asks the gods to make him different from all the animals, popular, and truly run after.