10 Incredible Kangaroo Facts

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Published: June 30, 2022
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The kangaroo is so popular in Australia that it has since become an emblem of the country. Although they are this popular, there are many things not known about kangaroos. It’s why we combined ten of the most incredible kangaroo facts in this article. Let’s go!

1. Kangaroos Are Not Found Only in Australia

Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo from New Guinea high up in a tree.

Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo from New Guinea high up in a tree.

©Ken Griffiths/Shutterstock.com

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Contrary to popular belief, kangaroos are not unique to Australia; they can also be found in New Guinea. Though a more significant percentage of the world’s kangaroo population is concentrated in Australia, the forests of New Guinea also serve as home to a particular kangaroo species known as the tree-kangaroo, which is smaller compared to the other kangaroos that live in Australia.

2. Kangaroos Have Complex Reproductive Features and Behaviors

The female kangaroo exhibits some unique reproductive features. First, they have a gestation period between 31 to 36 days, which is relatively short compared to other mammals. As a result, the joeys are born underdeveloped. Another significant aspect of their reproduction is the ability to pause a pregnancy. The female kangaroo can get pregnant while still nursing a joey. However, she pauses the pregnancy to allow the nursing joey to develop and leave the pouch before she carries on with the pregnancy.

One other fascinating part of the kangaroo’s reproduction is in the sex of the joeys born. It appears that the female kangaroos get to choose the sex of the joey as they are known to give birth to females before males. A reason for this might be males’ wandering behavior during adolescence. During these periods, they are never with the mob. Having the females first seems to be prioritizing the care of the entire mob as the males cannot be trusted with that responsibility. 

3. Kangaroos Have a Dominant Hand

Humans are not the only species with a dominant hand. Scientists have discovered that kangaroos also exhibit this trait. In their case, they are left-handed as opposed to human right-handedness. Kangaroos use their dominant left hand for various activities, including grooming and feeding. 

4. There Are More Kangaroos Than People in Australia 

Kangaroo at Lucky Bay in the Cape Le Grand National Park near Esperance, Western Australia

There are about 40 million kangaroos in Australia.

©anek.soowannaphoom/Shutterstock.com

A person visiting Australia is more likely to see more kangaroos than people as the kangaroo population supersedes the human population by a significant margin. While there are 25.69 million people in Australia, over 40 million kangaroos are in the country. That’s almost double the number of people in the country. 

5. Kangaroo Meat Is Part Of The Menu In Australia 

Thanks to their overwhelming population, kangaroo meat, known as australus, is a regular part of the diet in Australia. You are likely to see a kangaroo burger if you go to Australia. Scientists have already vetted australus as a healthy meat option because it is low in fat and very high in protein. Moreover, it’s also the perfect alternative meat source as the animals breed at a very high rate and have a very high population. Aussies are encouraged to hunt them to help contain the kangaroo population.

6. Kangaroos Hop Because They Have No Choice 

Jumping kangaroo

Kangaroos can move at 35mph.

©Katarina Christenson/Shutterstock.com

While it’s possible to think that kangaroos hop for fun, the reverse is the case. These adorable animals hop because it is the only way to move about. Their two legs cannot work independently, so the hop is the only way kangaroos can get around. It is a fascinating method of moving about and is effective for them. They can reach up to 35 miles per hour by hopping. Now that’s some fast way to travel.

7. Kangaroos Have an Amazing Defense Mechanism 

Although it’s rare, kangaroos still have to defend themselves from predators like the dingo, fox, feral cat, and raptor. When chased by a predator, the kangaroo will hop away, leading its predator to the nearest water source. Once they get there, the hunter often becomes the hunted as the kangaroo will attempt to drown its predator. Another defense mechanism that the kangaroo opts for is kickboxing. The kangaroo’s legs are powerful, all thanks to the build of its muscles and its constant hopping. The kick of a kangaroo is potent enough to kill a human.

8. Kangaroos Cannot Leap Backwar

A kangaroo cannot leap backward and can only leap forward. If a kangaroo had to go the other way, it would have to turn. A kangaroo cannot leap back to avoid an attack from a predator or another kangaroo. What was meant to be a limitation for the kangaroo has been put to great use by Australia. They have used the kangaroo alongside the emu on the nation’s coat of arms. Both animals cannot move backward and are used to symbolize the country moving ever forward. 

9. Baby Kangaroos Are A Biological Miracle

Due to the short length of the kangaroo’s gestation period, the joeys are born prematurely. A joey can be compared to the size of a lima bean when born. They crawl from the womb into their mother’s pouch, where they spend time developing and growing. You can consider this to be a natural incubation process. They stay in their mother’s pouch for about ten months before they can permanently leave.

10. Kangaroos Can Be Aggressive And Dangerous

Despite the sweet load of cuteness they can be, kangaroos aren’t all friendly as they can be very aggressive and dangerous. They have hands and feet that are strong and can deal a significant impact in a fight. Their legendary kickboxing skill, which is innate, can prove deadly if you are hit. They usually get aggressive when they feel threatened or when looking for food. 

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Breathes/Shutterstock.com


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