Fun Red Kangaroo Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Shreya Yadav
Red kangaroo facts for kids are interesting!

Red kangaroos (Macropus rufus), who belong to the family Macropodidae, are the largest species of kangaroos, and the largest terrestrial mammal found in Australia. Red kangaroos are iconic and are often used as mascots in Australian sports and other recreational activities.

They are large, with pointed ears. Male red kangaroos are often bigger than their female counterparts.

Males can grow up to 61.4-78.7 in (150-200 cm) when standing on their toes. Females, on the other hand, are much smaller. Male red kangaroos are double the weight out of their female counterpart and can weigh up to 92 kg while the females can weigh up to 39 kg.

Larger male kangaroos are well-built and will fight over potential mates. They use their tails to stand as they fight each other with their strong hind legs.

Kangaroos often bite and have sharp claws, which they use to fend off threats like dingos. Red kangaroos reproduce all year round and have babies that are tiny and crawl into the pouch of their mother.

The distinguishing factor between Red kangaroos from other species of any Australian kangaroo is the black and white patch on their cheeks, and broad white stripes extending from the corner of the mouth to the ear. Red kangaroos are found in abundance in Australia and can become problematic if their population isn't controlled.

Because of this, they are often hunted for meat and their skins. Read on to learn more about the largest terrestrial mammal in Australia.

You might also want to read our articles on marsupial facts and ocelot facts.

Red Kangaroo Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a red kangaroo?

The Australian red kangaroo (Macropus rufus) is a muscular kangaroo, with reddish-brown fur, and powerful hind legs, and is the largest living marsupial. It is one of the most iconic wild animals of Australia and is the largest terrestrial mammal found in Australia.

What class of animal does a red kangaroo belong to?

Kangaroos belong to the mammal class. This means they give birth to live offspring instead of laying eggs. They specifically are marsupials meaning they carry their young ones in a pouch.

How many red kangaroos are there in the world?

Red kangaroos are abundant in Australia and are found vastly in the western and central regions, depending on seasonal conditions. As of a 2017 population estimate, approximately 5.8 million red kangaroos exist in the wild.

Where does a red kangaroo live?

Red kangaroos are found in open plains like scrublands, shrublands, desert habitats, and grasslands in the western and central regions of Australia.

What is a red kangaroo's habitat?

Red kangaroos are found over most of the central Australian areas where there is an average rainfall of fewer than 500 mm, as they prefer to live in wide-open habitats and open plains with no trees or bushes. They are seldom found in regions that have no shelter.

Millions of red kangaroos roam Australia and are considerably killed for their meat and skins each year, with kangaroo meat becoming a staple food in the Australian human population.

Who do red kangaroos live with?

Red kangaroos are known to be socially adept and often live in small groups called mobs. Mobs consist of females, young kangaroos, with one or several male kangaroos overseeing the protection of the group. These groups are flexible in taking members. Male red kangaroos are not territorial and fight only over females during mating season.

How long does a red kangaroo live?

The average red kangaroo lifespan has been recorded to being up to 22 years in the wild. Unfortunately, most offspring die in their first year of life, unable to survive the conditions.

How do they reproduce?

The reproductive conditions of red kangaroos are sensitive to environmental conditions. Red kangaroos breed all year round.

After the process of mating and a gestation period of 33 days, the young are born and are of the size of a small jellybean at birth. Infants slowly climb into their mother's pouch for nutrition and protection.

Females have the unique ability to delay the birth of another baby until the previous infants, called joeys (baby kangaroo) have left the pouch.

What is their conservation status?

The IUCN Red List lists the red kangaroo as the Least Concern. This is because red kangaroos are widely distributed among the Australian open areas and are abundant.

The Australian government manages the population of the red kangaroo. Also, they have a lack of major threats, which helps in keeping a period of stable population in areas. In order to keep a check on the average population of these marsupial species, sustainable harvest for meat and skins is allowed in certain Australian areas.

Red Kangaroo Fun Facts

What do red kangaroos look like?

Red kangaroos have a square snout, with long pointed ears, and are well built. Since red kangaroos are dimorphic, females are usually smaller than males.

The males have reddish-brown fur with short hair which fades to pale below on the limbs. Females have blue-gray fur with a tiny speck of brown tinge and pale gray below. In some cases, the females are colored like males in arid zones.

Red kangaroos have two clawed forelimbs, there are five well-developed toes on the front kangaroo feet, which are muscular as these muscular hind legs are used for jumping, and hopping around. They use their strong tail as a tripod to standing upright on their feet.

Red kangaroos are quite cute.

How do they communicate?

Red kangaroos communicate by stomping their legs on the ground. An aggressive stomping is an announcement of looming danger and is used as an alert for other males, females, and kangaroo offspring to be aware of the imminent danger.

In other cases, a high-pitched bark is also used as an alert to make others aware. Females communicate with the joey by producing clucking or clicking noises, in a row several times.

How big is a red kangaroo?

Red kangaroos are the largest kangaroo that can be found in Australia, the Grey kangaroo coming at a close second. When the young are born, they are the size of a jellybean, and as they gain nutrition from their mothers, they grow in size.

Full-grown adult male red kangaroos have a head-body length of 36.8-55.1 in (93.5-140 cm) and are anywhere between 61.4-78.7 in (150-200 cm) tall when standing on their toes. The length of the tails is around 28-39.4 in.

Females are much smaller than males and have a head-body length of 29.3-43.3 in (74.5-110 cm), and the tail length is around 25.4-35.4 in (64.5-90 cm).

How fast can a red kangaroo run?

Red kangaroos are extremely agile and can run at a maximum speed of 43.5 mp/h (70 km/h) in short bursts using their muscular hind legs.

How much does a red kangaroo weigh?

Males weigh from anywhere in between 48.5-202.8 lb (22-92 kg), and females are smaller and weigh around 37.5-86 lb (17-39 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Red male kangaroos are called a buck or a boomer and females are called flyer or a doe.

What would you call a baby red kangaroo?

A baby kangaroo is called a joey. Females give birth to joeys after a gestation period of 33 days.

A joey after being born crawls into its way in its mother's pouch. The young joey permanently leaves their mother's pouch at the age of eight months but will suckle until 12 months of age. When they are scared, they hop into the pouch of their mother for protection.

What do they eat?

Red kangaroos eat grass and shrubs across the Australian central mainland. Since they have adapted to the dry and art weather conditions and gain moisture from grass and shrubs, they can go months without drinking water.

Are they aggressive?

Kangaroos are often seen as quiet grazing animals. But in reality, they can be aggressive towards people if they feel threatened or attacked. Although the risk is low, we need to be careful around them.

Would they make a good pet?

No. They might be grass grazing animals but they can't be kept as pets. These wild and free animals are not for domesticating as it will cause them stress and other health-related issues.

Did you know...

Red kangaroos are considered the largest marsupial in the animal kingdom!

If you ever find yourself wondering 'do male kangaroos have pouches?' the answer is no! Unlike females, males don't have a pouch because they don't produce milk and can't feed the joeys. Male kangaroos grow bigger and stronger steadily throughout their lives.

Red kangaroos cannot walk backward or forward. They move around my jumping and hopping. And they are the only bipedal marsupials that move on two legs instead of all fours.

Red kangaroos mostly live in groups of 4-10, but in extremely rare cases, this group of kangaroos called 'mobs' can consist of more than a thousand kangaroos.

Another interesting fact about red kangaroos is that females can control their pregnancy.

This process is knowns as 'embryonic diapause' where she can freeze the development of an embryo until the previous joey is old enough to leave the pouch; this allows her to give birth to three joeys in a go, where the largest one will be suckling milk from a teat, while a second joey will be in the pouch suckling for another teat and a third one will be in a suspended state within the uterus.

If the joey in the pouch dies before being born, she can give birth without having to mate.

Wallabies are the closest animals that resemble kangaroos. They look much like a tiny version of kangaroos. Wallabies have compact legs, unlike kangaroos that have legs designed to run on flat ground.

How high can a red kangaroo jump?

Their ability to leap allows them to cover 25 ft in a single leap and they can jump up to a height of 6 ft. Their highest jumps are said to be near or around 10 ft.

Are red kangaroos environmentally friendly?

They are environmentally friendly in the sense that unlike other herbivores like cows, they don't release a lot of methane. However, a lack of natural predators means their population can grow vastly if not kept under control. Because of this, in certain parts of Australia sustainable harvest of kangaroo meat and skins is allowed.

If kept unchecked, they can become nuances to the human population and ruin their crops. Believe us, nobody wants to go up against a muscular and threatening 6 ft tall kangaroo known to throw hands at others!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including Australian Mist, or snapping turtle.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Red kangaroos coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Shreya Yadav

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Psychology

Shreya Yadav picture

Shreya YadavBachelor of Arts specializing in Psychology

Shreya has developed a diverse set of skills through her experience in client servicing, email marketing, content and e-commerce management, digital marketing, and creative content writing. Her educational background includes a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Indira Gandhi National Open University, Delhi. Shreya's passion for ongoing learning and development is a testament to her commitment to excellence.

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