Food Facts: What Do Kangaroos Eat? Interesting Lesson For Kids | Kidadl


Food Facts: What Do Kangaroos Eat? Interesting Lesson For Kids

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There are many different kangaroo species, but what do kangaroos eat?

Kangaroos are grass-eating animals, and almost all kangaroos from the western gray kangaroo to the eastern gray kangaroo, feed on grass.

The most common food for all kangaroos, even red kangaroos, is grass. However, there are some slight differences in the diet between the different kangaroo species. Almost all species of kangaroos in some way or other are related to Australia. Antilopine kangaroos are also a common sight in Australia. The kangaroo (Macropus) comes from the family Macropodidae and this species of kangaroos are very unique when it comes to taking care of their young. Young kangaroos often stay in their mother's pouch in order to protect themselves from predators and feed on their mother's milk. There are a total of four species of kangaroos, Macropus giganteus, Macropus fuliginosus, red kangaroo, and the eastern gray kangaroo. It can be very normal to not distinguish between wallabies, wallaroos, and kangaroos.However, all kangaroos belong to the Macropodidae family. The same family also includes a variety of wallabies, however, kangaroos are the largest marsupials in this family. Kangaroos are native to Australia, and kangaroo species such as the red kangaroos, antilopine kangaroo, and eastern gray kangaroo are very commonly seen in northern Australia.

It is easy to spot these species in open grasslands since their diet is completely grass-based and they don't eat meat. Their habitat is generally filled with a number of trees, and kangaroos are entirely herbivores. Shrubs and grasslands are the most common feeding grounds. Red kangaroos (Macropus rufus) or any other species of kangaroos, use very unique techniques to protect their baby kangaroo. Like other marsupials, they also have milk glands that are present in their pouches. The pouch is used to keep the baby safe and the cradle babies are also known as joeys. In the wild, this marsupial has extra skills to protect itself in time of need. Its feet come extremely handy when it comes to defending itself from other animals in the wild. The diet of each species is also slightly different, some eat plants, while some feed on grasses. Some species also like dandelion leaves ferns. Their diet changes from one species to another. Some kangaroos species live without water for quite some time whereas others who live in hot regions of Australia can barely make it through a week without green leaves or water.

If you enjoyed this article, why not also read about what do frogs eat and what do iguanas eat here on Kidadl?

What do kangaroos drink? 

Kangaroos are incredible animals, they are entirely herbivores, and their eating habits do not include the consumption of meat in any way. Kangaroos have chambered stomachs, meaning they chew twice. They do not need much water to live.

Red kangaroos can live without water for as long as a month. The same can be said about other species as well, however a kangaroo (Macropus) sometimes dig holes when it is desperate for water. A western gray kangaroo can live without drinking water for a long time as well. Usually, kangaroos spend their day resting in the shade and they only come out at night. Trees and kangaroos are best friends! A kangaroo's habitat is typically full with trees since this animal needs shade during the day and it only come out when the temperature is cooler.

Their eating habits are also very similar to those of cattle and cows. They can be often seen chewing their feed in shrubs and grasslands. Nonetheless, kangaroos in captivity also have similar habits and they do not drink too much. Apart from their feeding habits, there is still a lot to learn about these marsupials. Their feet give excellent kicks when they feel threatened, however, most times they do not respond much. Kangaroos have good eyesight but most times they don't respond, they also have excellent ears. When they come out to search for food or for eating plants and grasses, they often go in their group since they are social animals. It is not rare to see two to three antilopine kangaroos together in their habitat during their feeding hours. These habits are similar in all the species of kangaroos. All four species are social and they often only come out in groups for protection. A group of kangaroos is often known as a mob, and it is possible to find six to seven kangaroos in a mob. The eastern gray (Macropus giganteus) are known to be the largest kangaroos compared to the other species. This species can weigh as much as 200 lb (95 kg) and be around 8 ft (2.4 m) in height. Red kangaroos are slightly smaller, they can weigh almost as much as 150 lb (70 kg). The western gray kangaroo is the smallest of all. The western gray kangaroo at maximum weighs around 120 lb (54 kg).

Do kangaroos eat meat?

Most kangaroos do not eat meat and they often do not need much water since they have a very low metabolism. They get enough water from their diet, which includes flowers, green grasses, and shrubs.

Their food, or their diet, is often moisture-rich which eliminates the need for them to make regular water intakes. They eat plants and a variety of grasses along with bush leaves. They have a number of teeth, which are excellent for the double-duty bushes they eat. Their teeth grow in the back of their mouths and as kangaroos lose their front teeth, they take the place of the front teeth. They have both incisor and molar teeth, which help to chew the grasses and plants. Eastern gray kangaroos mostly eat grass, and the same can be said about western gray kangaroos as well.

Alfalfa hay is fed to kangaroos that are in captivity. A red kangaroo's diet consists of wildflowers along with several other kinds of green grasses and herbage. Their food choices are diverse, and they have a lot of choices in the wild. Most times they feed during the night in order to avoid other wild animals. Kangaroos eat food that is rich in cellulose since they lack certain digestive enzymes. This makes it difficult for kangaroos to break down the cellulose present in their food.

Kangaroo eating grass by the sea.

List Of Foods That Kangaroos Eat

Over time, kangaroos have adapted and are now able to eat lots of different types of food. Their front teeth are able to grind grass well and their other molars help in this process when they eat something.

This marsupial doesn't have all the required digestive enzymes, which further helps a kangaroo to break down the cellulose and other such nutrition in the food. This means a kangaroo feeds on a number of diets.

A red kangaroo doesn't just feed on grass but also flowers and an antilopine kangaroo also feeds on bamboo. When this marsupial is in captivity, the same kind of food and plants are provided. Although green grasses are common, they don't make up the entire diet. Since kangaroos don't drink much water, it's necessary for them to extract moisture from their food. These marsupials have adapted to a variety of food items.

Kangaroos eat vegetables, along with tree bark as well. A red kangaroo also eats seeds that fall on the ground. A red kangaroo eats willow branches and sap. When it comes to tree kangaroos, their diet is even more different. Tree kangaroos are known to be omnivores. They also feed on bird eggs, however, other species of kangaroos don't eat eggs, because they only eat a vegetarian diet.

Joeys don't eat grasses, they are born vulnerable and are blind at birth. A joey is attached to its mother's nipple and for the first nine months, they only survive on milk. Joeys start coming out of the pouch after some time but, they return back to the pouch. It's only after a good time has passed that they stop relying on kangaroo milk and begin to eat a similar kangaroo diet to its mother.

Kangaroos can also eat common food items such as carrots and other vegetables, along with green leaves, and fungi as well. In the wild, they have a lot food options, however, when it comes to wallabies on the beach, the food choices change. Kangaroos have over time adapted to feed on a bunch of stuff, on beaches, they often rely on seaweed and fungi along with seed pods. However joeys don't eat any of it, they have a strict milk diet for the first nine months.

What To Feed A Kangaroo

Kangaroos are native to Australia, and they have adapted to everything Australia has to offer in terms of food. However, for kangaroos that are in zoos, their diet is a little different than those who live in Australia.

All four species of kangaroos are spread all across Australia. Their diet is rich in moisture and varies greatly. A kangaroo in captivity does not get as much options, and there are special formulas which provides it with the necessary nutrients. In captivity, kangaroos eat pellet formulas. They are also placed on a basic diet that includes alfalfa hay. Kangaroos also love vegetables and farm produce. They also eat fruits as well, so apples and bananas are ideal food choices to feed a kangaroo. Along with that, they also love some vegetables such as carrots and greens to make up for the cellulose requirements. When it comes to a tree kangaroo, the diet needs to be leafier. Every species has a different diet and should be fed accordingly.

Did You Know...

Newborn joeys are extremely small and are only 1 in (2.5 cm) in size. Joeys are provided with almost everything inside the pouch. Female kangaroos have their nipples located in their pouch, meaning a joey can drink its mother's milk from the mother's pouch. When it comes to kangaroos, a joey passes urine and performs other such day-to-day activities entirely in the pouch. A joey can pass urine and it is absorbed in the pouch. In the initial days of the birth, joeys are often attached to the nipple that's inside the pouch.

In Australia you can find the largest kangaroo to the smallest joey enjoying a warm day inside its mother's pouch. Since kangaroo species are very calm most of the time, they often engage in fights unless threatened or provoked. Male kangaroos are however more aggressive and can be seen having aggressive encounters in shrubs sometimes.

All four kangaroo species have different needs, red kangaroos like to live in Tasmania and another such nearby forest area in Australia. Antilope kangaroos live on the northern side of Australia. Tree kangaroos live in the rainforest areas of Queensland Australia.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for what do kangaroos eat, then why not take a look at what do pigs eat, or red kangaroo facts.

Written By
Monika Sharma

<p>With a passion for crafting engaging and informative content, Monika brings a wealth of writing experience to our team. Her Bachelors in Electronics and Telecommunications from Symbiosis Institute Of Technology adds a unique perspective to her work, allowing her to effectively communicate complex ideas in a clear and concise manner. Over the past two years, Monika has perfected her writing skills through her roles as a content writer, content manager, and digital marketer for reputable companies in both the USA and India. This hands-on experience has provided her with a deep understanding of industry trends and best practices, ensuring that the content she produces is always of the highest quality. She stays current with the latest field developments,continuously refining her skills to deliver exceptional content.</p>

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