Red Kangaroo

Royalty-Free/Corbis

The red kangaroo gets its name from the red pelage of the males — not the females, which tend to be dull blue-gray.

The largest living marsupials in the world, these mammals use their tail as a balance when they jump; they can make jumps almost thirty feet (9 m) long and eight feet (2.5 m) high.

They are active in the evening and at night, when groups of kangaroos, called mobs, forage on grasses and other plants.

A mob usually has one adult male, several females, plus the young.

Soon after giving birth, the mother copulates and produces an embryo that halts development until the neonate leaves the pouch. When conditions are right, she may have an "embryo-in-waiting," a suckling neonate, and a joey at her side.

Animal Facts:

Name: Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus)

Family: Macropodidae (Kangaroos and Wallabies)

Range: Inland Australia

Habitat: Arid grassland, shrubby steppes

Diet: Succulent grass, shoots, herbs, and leaves

Head and Body Length: 3 to 5 feet (1 to 1.6 m)

Tail Length: 35 to 43 inches (90 to 110 cm)

Weight: 77 to 176 pounds (35 to 80 kg)

Description: Reddish (males) or blue-gray (females) in color; white fur on belly; narrow head; long nose; long, oval ears; strong teeth; long, strong hindlegs; short, weaker forelimbs; long, furry tail

Conservation Status: Common

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