They have sweet faces and tough guy moves. Kangaroo mothers carry their babies (called joeys) around in their pouches, which is part of what makes 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 (sometimes more than 200 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.
Where Can You Go to See Kangaroos?
There are several zoos in Virginia that have kangaroos. Richmond Metro Zoo lists both red and gray kangaroos among their many animals. Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge features a Kangaroo Walk-About. The Virginia Zoo in Norfolk has eastern grey kangaroos. If you plan on visiting, you can check with the zoo in advance to make sure the kangaroos are available for you to see.
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.
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.
Instructions for a hopping game of tag, inspired by our favorite marsupials.
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.