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Red kangaroo

Macropus rufus

Red kangaroo

The red kangaroo is the biggest member of the kangaroo family.

The kangaroo is part of the ‘macropodidae’ family. This word means ‘big feet’ which is a suitable description for kangaroos who use their powerful back legs and feet to hop over great distances. When pursued by a predator or frightened this large mammal can reach speeds of 43 miles per hour.

Kangaroos are famed for their ‘boxing’. They use their front paws to push their rival and use their back legs to kick out!

Kangaroos are marsupials, which means that their baby, known as a ‘joey’ is kept and suckled within a pouch. Male red kangaroos are a reddish colour but females and younger kangaroos tend to be grey.

Desert and grasslands

Diet - Herbivore
Red kangaroos eat green plants, including grass and flowering plants.

They can be up to 165 centimetres (cm) tall with tails of around 107cm. They can weigh up to 95 kilograms.

Red kangaroos are found in open scrubland, grassland and desert in Australia.

Conservation status
The IUCN does not consider the red kangaroo to be in any danger of extinction in the near future.

Millions of kangaroos are slaughtered each year for their meat and skin.

Current population
Experts believe that there are more than 35 million kangaroos but others say there are less than 20 million left in Australia, when they add up the different species. Between 5.5 and ten million animals were killed in 2001 alone.

Zoo population
There is an EEP for red kangaroos. There are more than 1000 animals living in zoos around the world.

Key to acronyms

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature

EEP - European Endangered Species Programme

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