Kangaroo - iconic animal of Australia.

The Kangaroo

The kangaroo flies - on the tail of every Qantas jet! The kangaroo - probably Australia's most recognised symbol. The kangaroo, truly a native of Australia. It is found nowhere else in the world. Qantas kangaroo logo. Qantas has used the kangaroo logo for many decades and has made the kangaroo one of the most well recognised Australian symbols. This is the new super jumbo that has just been delivered to Qantas - the Airbus A380.
Red Kangaroo in full flight. Kangaroos are plentiful in many areas of Australia. Kangaroos have flourished with the coming of agriculture
There's the big Red, found by the millions all over the grassy plains of Australia's inland areas. The big Red is big - over six foot from nose to tail! Take a drive in outback Australia and you will see them, sometimes in mobs of hundreds. Watching them bound away through the scrub is a very graceful sight - they almost seem to flow over the ground.

Kangaroo resting, near Naracoorte, South Australia
Kangaroo resting, near Naracoorte, South Australia. I'm not sure what sort of kangaroo/ wallaby this is. Can anyone enlighten me?

Copyright © Koole Imaging

There are actually thee different groups of kangaroo types, with a total of about 50 species. There are the big kangaroos and wallabies, including the tree kangaroos, and the rat kangaroos (not the same as the kangaroo rats found in North America, which are actually a type of rat - a rodent!), and the musk rat kangaroos.

There is more difference between kangaroos and wallabies than their size. Kangaroos are much bigger - up to 2.4 metres (8 ft) tall, while wallabies are up to 600 mm (2 ft). Wallabies have different teeth, and have brighter colouring.

Kangaroos tend to live in open grasslands and eat grass and so their teeth are designed to cut grass. Their teeth are curved and have ridges and high crowns that can cut and slice the grass.

Wallabies live in bushland areas and eat mainly leaves. Their teeth are designed to grind up leaves, so it has flat teeth.

More info on kangaroo teeth here.

Hello! Who are you? Inquisitive wallabies, near Naracoorte, South Australia
Hello! Who are you? Inquisitive wallabies, near Naracoorte, South Australia.

Copyright © Koole Imaging

The best known kangaroos are the big kangaroos, both the reds and the greys. They're fast! A bir - 2.1 metre (7ft) tall eastern grey can travel at up to 55 km/h (35 mph), covering up to 8 metres (25 ft) in one jump.

Male kangaroos are known as 'Boomers' or jacks; females are known as jills or flyers. Young kangaroos are known as joeys. Groups of kangaroos are generally called 'mobs', though sometimes they're called 'troops'.

Kangaroos hop. Because it is the most energy efficient way to get around. But I reckon there's more to it than that. I reckon God delighted in making all sorts of different animals. The design is brilliant. Their feet are specially designed to hop, their tails balance them and act as shock absorbers.

Kangaroos are good at swimming. It's the only time they can move their legs independently. Also, it's very difficult for them to move backwards.

There's not much in the Australian outback that can give a fully grown 'boomer' a hard time. Perhaps a dingo or a wedge tailed eagle might.

There are so many of the big kangaroos in all parts of Australia that they are in no danger of extinction, though we have to be careful with some of the smaller ones. In fact, the big kangaroos have prospered since the arrival of settlers - so much so that careful harvesting has no negative effect on them.
Short Classic Mini Sheepskin UGG Boot- Australian made Sheepskin Boot

Kangaroos are marsupials - which means a kangaroo mum carries her baby or 'joey' in a pouch - for around ten months. Even after the young 'roo leaves the pouch he continues to drink from mum for up to 18 months. Check out the joey in his mum's pouch - highlighted in the pic.

Female kangaroos have only one baby at a time - no twin pouches on a kangaroo!

Joeys when they are born are small - no bigger than a cherry - and they immediately climb into their mother's pouch and stay there for about two months. After that they will begin to come out, but will quickly hop back in when there are signs of danger!

You can often see bigger joeys with their head and feet hanging out of mother's pouch.

Kangaroo and joey. Baby Kangaroos are born very small and immature. They crawl into their mother's pouch and are fed there until they are large enough to leave.

Kangaroos hopping down the main street? - it does happen, you know! Just after church one Sunday morning recently parishioners were quite surprised to see a kangaroo hopping down the middle of Potter St, in Geelong, Victoria. Geelong is the major regional city in Victoria with some 200 thousand people.

They reckon the 'roo had followed the river and then come into the suburbs and the city during a spell of some very dry weather. The council bylaws officer tells me its not that uncommon, especially in dry periods.

A kangaroo hopped into a pharmacy at Melbourne Airport in October 2013. Which was a bit of a surprise for the customers and staff! Wildlife officers removed the kangaroo not long after it arrived. But this is not the first time Melbourne Airport has had a kangaroo visiting. In January 2013 an eastern grey kangaroo was seen in one of the pedestrian overpasses. It then hopped into the carpark and was rescued by rangers.

Kangaroos near a housing development, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Kangaroos near a housing development, Geelong, Victoria, Australia. driving home from a day at the beach we saw a mob of about 20 kangaroos - eastern greys - right alongside the road just half a kilometre from a new housing development. The kangaroos are feeling the pressure of development. July 2015

Copyright © Willem Schultink