Filmed in the Queanbeyan Golf Club in Australia, this video shows a large mob of kangaroos hanging out on the golf course. About 25 of the marsupials invaded the place to feed on the lush, green grass. Two large males begin fighting, a typical scene among these creatures. The two males box with their front paws and kick at one another with their powerful back legs. Suddenly, another male becomes involved. One backs out of the fight, and the other two continue. After a few minutes, the battle dies down, and there is no clear winner. Watch the video below and then learn more about kangaroos!
Check Out the Exciting Video Below!
What Is a Marsupial?
A marsupial is a mammal whose females have a pouch for raising babies. The young are born not fully developed and crawl to the mother’s pouch. Blind, deaf, and hairless, their survival depends entirely on the warmth and safety of the pouch. This is where they spend several weeks to months nursing milk from the mother and growing. When they are large enough, they will leave the pouch to continue growing.
Some other Australian marsupials include wombats, koalas, and Tasmanian devils. However, marsupials live all over the world. While Australia boasts approximately 120 species of marsupials, 53 species live on the island of Papua New Guinea. Not only that, but South and Central America are home to 90 species. In contrast, North America supports only two marsupial species (two types of opossums).
The size of marsupials varies from tiny shrew-like creatures weighing as little as a U.S. nickel to large kangaroos weighing more than 200 pounds. These creatures eat a variety of food items, from grasses, leaves, and fruits to fish and other meats. Some of them hunt, while others graze.
How Are Kangaroos Born and Raised?
Kangaroo babies (joeys) start as eggs in the female that become fertilized by a male, just like other mammals. After about one month, the egg runs out of nutrients, and the tiny 1-inch-long joey is born through the birth canal. Then, it crawls to the pouch, using its front legs to move through its mother’s fur. The mother kangaroo (doe) can have one baby on the ground, one in the pouch, and one in an egg all at the same time! This means she is raising three babies at once, at different stages. Twin births are rare among these creatures. The joey grows quickly, and once it is big enough to see out of the pouch, it begins to leave it. As the joey grows, it leaves the pouch for longer and longer periods. They will not leave the pouch permanently until about six months old. After another few months, the joey is fully matured and begins to live life on its own. Some species vary with this timeline.
What Are the Types of Kangaroos and Where Do They Live?
Three species qualify as kangaroos for certain: red kangaroos, eastern gray kangaroos, and western gray kangaroos. There is some debate about whether two species of wallaroos (hill wallaroos and antilopine wallaroos) should be classified as kangaroos. Wallaroos are mid-sized between kangaroos and wallabies. Wallabies include 30-40 different species and are much smaller than kangaroos.
All kangaroo, wallaroo, and wallaby species live in Australia or its nearby islands. Surprisingly, kangaroos swim really well! They live in different habitats depending on the species, but most prefer plains, woodlands, or savannas. Some species of wallaby live in trees and sometimes get called “tree kangaroos.”
What Is the Problem With Kangaroos in Australia?
A beloved species all over the world, kangaroos have begun to be a problem in their native homeland. In fact, some Australians view them as pests and no longer want them around. Let’s find out why kangaroos invade golf courses and other human domains.
Unfortunately, with few natural predators, kangaroo numbers have soared across Australia. The massive mobs invade towns and farmland. They destroy crops and plants. This leads to erosion of the soil where and causes flooding concerns when heavy rains fall. Some worry that without intervention, many species will die out due to the overpopulation of kangaroos. They do have some predators, such as dingoes, wedge-tailed eagles, and even humans. These predators, excluding humans, mostly go after young joeys.
Due to the sheer numbers, they beat out other animals that eat the same foods. Because of the large mobs, other animals that would normally eat the grasses and plants in the area lose access to the areas.
While kangaroos eat mostly grasses, some species occasionally eat dead animals they come across. This meat-eating behavior is suspected to be based on convenience and a quick way to get much-needed protein. Some species also feed on fruits and insects. The more kangaroos there are, the more resources they need, and the less there is available for other animals. When a kangaroo is on a golf course, they have a perfect buffet!
Aggressiveness Toward Humans
These marsupials can be aggressive toward humans and pets. Males often fight one another for the right to breed with females. With massive muscles and strong feet to kick their opponent, human-kangaroo conflict is extremely dangerous for humans. Some male red kangaroos stand over 9 feet tall and weigh as much as a full-grown man. These big males kick with nearly 760 pounds of force! That’s more than enough to shatter human bones. A kick to the stomach could result in internal bleeding and death. They also have long claws on their feet that scratch and puncture flesh. Some kangaroos also jump up to 10 feet high, so fences meant to keep them out are not a problem for them. Seeing a group of kangaroos on a golf course is not uncommon.
In 2013, the Australian government allowed the culling (killing), sale, and distribution of kangaroo meat and other related products to help with the overpopulation. This means when kangaroos invade farmland or towns, those with a license are allowed to kill them. Over 90 million kangaroos and wallabies have been destroyed since this law was passed. The law does include measures that require the kills to be humane. However, with the number of high kills made, these laws prove difficult to enforce.
Other solutions include the introduction of wild dogs to hunt them and fertility modification.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/JohnCarnemolla
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