Kangaroos – a hop, skip & jump
Frank Rijkers – South Africans to Oz
When arriving in Australia a while back to visit our daughter it was my mission to see Australia’s great kangaroos in their natural environment.
I had already seen them at the Sydney Taronga Zoo and the Australian Reptile Park which was not far from where I was staying, but none in the wild.
So, to make this wish come true we took a 2 hour drive inland but, for some reason, they were avoiding us.
Finally, there they were a small mob grazing in a green paddock. Yeah!
I have seen plenty of Australia’s great kangaroos since moving here and continue to find them fascinating creatures.
Australia’s great kangaroos
Kangaroos are marsupials and the most well known are the ‘great’ four i.e. the big Red Kangaroo, the Western Grey Kangaroo, the Eastern Grey Kangaroo and the Antilopine Kangaroo.
Big red kangaroo
These are massive kangaroos with males, some almost 2 metres tall, famous for their kick boxing abilities. Go to YouTube and you will find plenty of videos where they can be seen using their legs trying to kick the living daylights out of each other, all for a lady roo.
You will find these kangaroos in the dry regions of Australia and being herbivores, eat lots of plants and grasses.
These guys can, in one hop, cover 7 metres and cruise at 32kmh.
Red Kangaroos are afraid of Dingos that hunt them in packs. The females will stand their ground to protect their young while the males are nowhere to be seen.
Western grey kangaroo
These are also large kangaroos with males (1.8 metres) twice the size of females.
They have thick fur and range in colour from white, light brown to dark brown.
You will find them scattered throughout Australia with the main areas being New South Wales and Queensland.
One of the unique characteristics of the western grey Kangaroo, nobody knows why, is that they give off a very powerful bad smell.
These vocal kangaroos feed and move about after sunset.
Wild cats and foxes are their predators.
Eastern grey kangaroos
They can be mixed up with the western grey kangaroo but have thicker fur and greyish in colour.
Eastern grey kangaroos can be recognized by their small heads and large ears.
Unfortunately, many of the eastern grey kangaroos carry a genetic marker for blindness in one eye.
Male and female are almost the same in size.
The eastern grey kangaroos are the fastest of all kangaroos and can cover up to 10 metres with one hop.
Similar in behaviour and habitat to the red and grey kangaroos, the antipoline kangaroo is distributed in the northern Australian monsoonal tropical woodlands.
Antilopine kangaroos are gregarious and live in groups of up to 30 animals.
These kangaroos are only slightly smaller than their red and eastern grey brothers with the male being a reddish colour, and females considerably greyer.
Too small to cuddle
Young kangaroos are called joeys which are very small and fragile when born.
They climb into the pouch of their mother immediately after birth even though they are only about the size of a lima bean.
Learn more kangaroo facts here
Whale season is an awesome time to swim with them.