Written by Manya Pandey, a first-year undergraduate student.
Kangaroos are mammals that look like this…
There are many interesting facts listed below, but here’s a super interesting one..
Did you know that when a kangaroo walks, its tail works like another leg?
When a kangaroo walks, it does so with five “legs.” It basically uses its tail as fifth leg, because the tail has as much to do with its movement as its legs.
Here’s how it happens..
While grazing on grass shrubs, etc, a kangaroo puts its tail on the ground right at the same time as its front legs. This forms a tripod-like arrangement which then supports its body as it brings its hind legs forward.
But, here’s the thing. A study has shown that kangaroo tails play a big role in helping it walk, in what’s called its, “five-limbed walk” or pentapedal – a unique five-footed way of moving.
The other unique thing about kangaroos is that they have pouches in their stomachs in which they carry their little ones. The pouch is a dark, cozy area that has no fur inside it, only the soft skin of the mother and her milk
A baby kangaroo is called a joey. Here are some facts about them
- On birth, a joey (much like humans) can’t walk, speak or even hear or see anything clearly.
- They are born in just 33 days
- At birth, joeys weigh no more than a penny, barely 2 grams or an ounce. In terms of size, they are born no bigger than a grape
- Most of the early development happens in the mother’s pouch
- Among many fun facts about kangaroos, here’s a not-so-brainy one: Only female kangaroos have pouches.
Life inside the pouch
Kangaroo joeys are the tiniest, they can’t even hear or see when they are born, but the mother doesn’t put them in the pouch, they have to climb themselves up just with their sense of smell! It’s a hard journey with their jelly-like feet but the mother makes a straightforward path to the pouch by licking her fur, so the joey can smell her saliva and find its way.
They don’t have to do anything inside the pouch. The contractions of muscles in the mother’s stomach wall force milk out of her mammary glands so all a little joey’s got to do is: sleep, eat and repeat.
Where are kangaroos found?
Australia accounts for the highest number of kangaroos but they are also found in New Guinea, an island in Australia. In 2019, the Australian government estimated a total of 42.8 million kangaroos within the commercial harvest areas of the continent. Now that you know ‘where are kangaroos found?’, let’s hop on to some fun facts about kangaroos.
Top 20 fun facts about kangaroos in 2022.
Kangaroo joeys are the smallest of animal babies
As you know kangaroo babies are born prematurely, they are as small as candy. Much like human babies, they can’t do anything on their own for a long time, that’s because kangaroo mothers don’t have a placenta (a special body part in a mother’s womb that supplies nutrients to growing babies) instead most of the development takes place in their pouch.
1. Some kangaroos can climb trees
No, not all of them but a gifted kind called the Tree kangaroo can climb up the trees as efficiently as a monkey. These kangaroos have small legs and strong forelimbs for climbing up the trees.
With their short faces and climbing habits, they almost look like a cross between a kangaroo. They live in forests and trees so sadly their population is declining because of deforestation.
2. Kangaroos can’t hop backward
Did you know kangaroos hop because they can’t really walk? That’s why they crawl and hop but they can’t do any of it backward because of their huge tail and enormous feet.
3. Kangaroo is the national animal of Australia
Good thing kangaroos can’t move backward because that’s what makes them Australia’s national animal. They represent a nation that is always moving forward. Also, Australia is the answer to “Where are Kangaroos Found?” Besides the zoo.
4. There are sixty known species of kangaroos
If you thought kangaroos are all the same. You’re mistaken. There are sixty different kinds of them including the red kangaroo, the grey kangaroo, and the tree-climbing kangaroo. The red kangaroo joey is ten thousand times smaller than its mother. Wasn’t that one of the mind-blowing fun facts about kangaroos?
5. Mommy kangaroos can suspend their pregnancies
It’s true! Female kangaroos have the ability to temporarily stop the development of little joeys in their wombs. This ability is called embryonic diapause. What happens is if the mother already has a baby in her belly or there is no food outside, they stop all further developments of the embryo, or baby joey after it’s about 100 cells and wait until they find a good environment and a lot of grass or just another week till they deliver the existing baby. That’s another reason why is the kangaroo amazing animal
6. They can stand on their tails
Now, you already know kangaroos can’t jump backward because of their heavy tails but the good news is they can use their tails as a fifth leg. Kangaroo tails are very sturdy, it’s so strong that it can carry a kangaroo’s entire body weight. They can basically stand straight on their hind legs, supported by their tail.
7. A group of Kangaroos is called a mob
A group of kangaroos is usually referred to as a mob or a troop. They are also called a court. Kangaroos usually live in a group of ten or more individuals. They are pretty social and communicate in multiple ways by touching their noses, stomping their feet, and making growling noises.
8. Kangaroos don’t sweat
Humans and other animals sweat through what’s called the sweat gland. Sweating keeps our bodies cool but unfortunately, kangaroos don’t have sweat glands which is why they have to lick themselves until they are wet. They also lick their paws and chest to cool themselves down.
9. Kangaroos try to drown their attackers
The study reveals that if kangaroos sense danger they rush into nearby water bodies where they lie in wait for their opponents only to hold them underwater and they are pretty good at it.
10. Kangaroos can produce two different types of milk at the same time
This happens when a new joey is born while there’s already a growing baby in the pouch. Instead of stopping milk production for the yearling, the mammary glands begin churning out two different kinds of milk. The carbohydrate-rich type for the newborn and fat-rich milk.
11. They make growling and or barking sounds to call out fellow kangaroos.
While the loud thumping of kangaroo feet is the most common sound you might hear around them, kangaroos have different sound signals for their mates. Males usually make loud growls and barking calls. And females usually make clucking sounds to call out their young ones
12. It’s common to eat kangaroo meat in Australia
Australia has the largest population of kangaroos so it’s not surprising to find kangaroo sausage and kangaroo pizza there. It’s even sold in supermarkets. Kangaroo meat is considered a healthier alternative to them as it is high in protein and low in fat.
13. Joeys dive right back into their mother’s pouch at the first sight of danger.
Kangaroo joeys are born very fragile, but after living in the comfy cozy pouches for over 230 days they begin exploring their surroundings. Luckily their shelter days are never over; they come running back into the pouch at the very sight of danger.
14. The name ‘kangaroo’ comes from an indigenous language
Kangaroo was derived from the word “Gangurru” in Guugu Yimithirr language which refers to the eastern grey kangaroos. Kangaroos have been spiritually significant to indigenous people across Australia like the Torres Strait Islanders. They have often been found in ancient cave paintings.
15. Kangaroos flaunt their muscles to impress females
Here’s another reason why the kangaroo is an amazing animal: male kangaroos flex their muscles to impress their gals! Does it sound familiar? Yes, exactly like us. Animal researchers have found that male kangaroos show more muscle growth in their forearms than females.
16. Kangaroos have only one stomach
You’ll be surprised to know that most animals including cows, sheep, and cattle have multiple stomach chambers because raw grass is hard to digest but the kangaroo only has a single-chambered stomach. Although, just like other animals, the swallowed food sometimes comes back to their mouth where they have to chew it again for final digestion.
17. Kangaroo mother can drop the joey to save herself
It’s sad but true. If threatened the female kangaroos can leave behind the joey in her pouches as bait for the predators. It’s more a survival mechanism for them than a moral decision. If it makes you feel better- they only take this measure in very stressful situations.
18. Kangaroo mothers clean their pouches by licking the dirt out
As you’re aware the young joey is so fragile, that it can’t move on its own for a long while. That’s why they defecate (release waste – faeces, and urine) and the mother is left with a lot of cleaning chores. Sadly, her duties are never over because even after joey leaves the pouch he keeps coming back with all the external filth and dirt.
19. How do you think a newborn kangaroo finds the pouch?
Kangaroo joeys are very fragile when they’re born, and they don’t even have complete ears. All they can do is smell the saliva of their mother to find their way into the pouch. They can’t even see so the mother makes a saliva trail for the baby to follow and attach itself to the teat (the milking organ).
20. Where are kangaroos found?
Kangaroos are an endemic species to Australia and New Guinea. Endemic refers to those animals that are only found in certain areas. Kangaroos are also found in Tasmania and other nearby islands.
Kangaroos are highly adaptable and can live successfully in a wide range of habitats. They are found in woodlands and bushy areas but they also prefer grassland, savannas and forests.
The Australian government estimates that 42.8 million kangaroos lived within the commercial harvest areas of Australia in 2019, down from
The International Union Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the organisation that issues a red flag to declining animal populations has classified kangaroos of “least concern” but their population is on the decline as per Australian surveys, kangaroo populations have come down to 42.8 million in 2019 from 53.2 million in 2013.
Human activities and deforestation are reducing their habitats and even though the kangaroos are not endangered they are still declining and we all need to pay attention and save animals because they’re amazing.
Why is a kangaroo an amazing animal?
They say left-handed folks are wiser and smarter, maybe that’s the answer to ‘Why is the kangaroo an amazing animal?’.
Researchers have found kangaroos use their left hand more naturally than their right.
The tendency to use one of your hands more than the others is called “handedness”, initially scientists thought is an evolutionary phenomenon that is only found in advanced creatures like dogs and humans but recently they have seen it in kangaroos too. It is one of the most amazing fun facts about kangaroos.
Some more information about the kangaroo
They don’t emit methane. It’s a gas that causes global warming. When most animals including cows expel gas, they release this gas, but not kangaroos. Add this to your list of fun facts about kangaroos. Also, they mostly eat grass and can hop as high as 25 feet!
Lastly, kangaroos are superb swimmers and amazing boxers in fact most of their internal conflicts are settled in boxing matches.
Hope you found it interesting. Now you know ALL about kangaroos!
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