Lucky Kangaroos

Red Kangaroo (Facts!)

The red kangaroo is the most iconic animal of Australia. Hardly any animal is as well known as the largest marsupial in the world. But what exactly is the red kangaroo?

Red kangaroos (Osphranter rufus) are the largest kangaroo species. The marsupials live in the dry and remote central areas of the Australian continent. Red kangaroos live up to 27 years and weigh up to 90 kg (200 lbs). An upright standing red kangaroo is up to two meters (6.5 ft) tall.

red kangaroo with joey in pouch
a female red kangaroo with a joey in her pouch

The following article describes the red kangaroo in the following areas:

Let’s explore Australias largest native mammal!

Profile

The following profile describes the most important characteristics of the red kangaroo:

Species red kangaroo
Scientific name Osphran rufus
Distribution area Australia, dry interior
Food Grasses, perennials, shrubs, acacia, maireana
Body size (male) 1.4 - 2.2 m (4.6 - 7.2 ft)
Body size (female) 0.8 - 1.1 m (2.6 - 3.6 ft)
Body weight (male) 60 - 90 kg (132 - 198 lbs)
Body weight (female) 20 - 40 kg (44 - 88 lbs)
Body weight at birth 0.8 g (0.028 oz)
Maximum speed 70 km/h (43 mph)
Pregnancy 33 days
Life expectancy up to 27 years
number of young 1
Coat colour Red, rust brown, grey-blue
Population over 12,000,000 animals

The body of Red Kangaroos

Red kangaroos are powerful animals that survive in Australia's harsh conditions. What’s the typical appearance of red kangaroos?

An average adult male red kangaroo weighs around 70 kg (154 lbs) and is 1.6 m (5.24 ft) tall. Females are significantly lighter and smaller. They have a weight of around 25 kg (55 lbs) and a height of 0.9 m (2.95 ft). Red kangaroos hop short distances at speeds of up to 70 km/h (43 mph).

You might have noticed significant differences in size and weight between males and females. These differences are called sexual dimorphism.

What do red kangaroos look like?

face of a red kangaroo
Source: Ewa Gillen

Red kangaroos have a very large body. The animals have two front paws with claws, two strong hind legs and a long tail.

Red kangaroos are of course immediately recognizable as kangaroos. Nevertheless, their appearance is clearly different from other kangaroo species such as the eastern grey kangaroos and the western grey kangaroos. What do red kangaroos look like?

Male red kangaroos have largely red or rusty brown fur, while females tend to have blue-gray fur. However, fur color varies greatly by region. In desert areas, both males and females often have a reddish, rusty-brown coat.

The lower part of the hind legs is colored in a light gray. The animals have large ears and a nose area without hair. Well recognizable are also the white stripes from the side of the mouth to under the eye.

Studies show that about 80% of males have a more reddish coat, and about 70% of females have a more blue-grey coat. Therefore, female red kangaroos are often called "blue-fliers".

Red kangaroos are easily distinguishable from grey kangaroos by their white tails. This article describes how you can easily tell the difference between red kangaroos, Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Western Grey Kangaroos.

How much do red kangaroos weigh?

large red kangaroo
Source: Randy Amor

Some animals grow heavier and larger than humans. However, there are significant differences between the sexes. How much do red kangaroos typically weigh?

Adult male red kangaroos weigh 60 - 80 kg (130 - 176 lbs), while females weigh about 20 - 30 kg (44 - 66 lbs).

The following table shows the weight of red kangaroos compared to other kangaroo species:

Kangaroo species Maximum body weight for males Typical body weight for males Maximum body weight for females Typical body weight for females
Red kangaroo 90 kg (200 lbs) 60 - 80 kg (132 - 175 lbs) 40 kg (88 lbs) 20 - 30 kg (44 - 66 lbs)
Western grey kangaroo 70 kg (154 lbs) 40 - 50 kg (88 - 110 lbs) 40 kg (88 lbs) 25 - 35 kg (55 - 77 lbs)
Eastern grey kangaroo 90 kg (200 lbs) 50 - 70 kg (110 - 154 lbs) 40 kg (88 lbs) 15 - 30 kg (33 - 66 lbs)
Antilopine kangaroo 70 kg (154 lbs) 55 kg (121 lbs) 25 kg (55 lbs) 20 - 25 kg (44 - 55 lbs)

The table shows that red kangaroos, together with the eastern grey kangaroos, are among the heaviest kangaroo species. The table also shows how pronounced the sexual dimorphism is in all kangaroo species.

How big do red kangaroos get?

large red kangaroo
Source: Donald Hobern from Copenhagen, Denmark, CC BY 2.0

Red kangaroos are the largest marsupials in the world. Sexual dimorphism leads to marked differences in body size between male and female red kangaroos. Males can grow almost twice as large as females. But how big do red kangaroos get?

Male red kangaroos have a body size between 1.4 and 2.2 m (4.6 - 7.2 ft), while females range from 0.8 to 1.1 m (2.6 - 3.6 ft) in body size. The tail of males is about 1.2 m (3.9 ft) long, while in females it has a length of about 0.9 m (2.95 ft). This makes red kangaroos the largest marsupials in the world.

The following table shows the body size of red kangaroos compared to other kangaroo species:

Kangaroo species Male size Female size
Red kangaroo 1,4 m - 2,2 m (4.6 - 7.2 ft) 0,8 - 1,1 m (2.95 - 3.6 ft)
Western grey kangaroo 0.9 m - 2.2 m (2.95 - 7.2 ft) 0,9 - 1,7 m (2.95 - 5.5 ft)
Eastern grey kangaroo 1,2 - 2,3 m (3.9 - 7.54 ft) 1,8 m (5.9 ft)
Antilopine kangaroo 1,2 - 1,9 m (3.9 - 6.2 ft) 0,9 m (2.95 ft)

The table shows that red kangaroos are among the largest kangaroo species. They tend to be even slightly larger than western grey kangaroos.

Males grow throughout their entire lives. The biggest growth spurt happens at an age of 2 - 4 years around sexual maturity.

Females reach their final body size at around two years of age.

The tail length also differs between kangaroo species:

Kangaroo species male tail length Tail length of females
Red kangaroo 1.2 m (3.9 ft) 0.9 m (2.95 ft)
Western grey kangaroo 1 m (3.28 ft) 0.8 m (2.6 ft)
Eastern grey kangaroo 1.1 m (3.6 ft) 0.8 m (2.6 ft)
Antilopine kangaroo 1 m (3.28 ft) 0.8 m (2.6 ft)

The table shows that red kangaroos generally have the longest tails of all kangaroo species. Nevertheless, the difference between the species in tail length is much smaller than in body size.

How fast are red kangaroos?

Red kangaroos are among the fastest mammals on land. But how fast are red kangaroos?

Red kangaroos hop with the help of their strong hind legs and thus reach a speed of up to 70 km/h (43 mph). However, their typical speed is between 15 and 35 km/h (9 - 22 mph).

This kangaroo species is extremely fast on open and flat land. The long strong tail is used as a counterweight while the animals hop quickly. The strong hind legs function like springs to achieve the high speeds. At the same time, the spring effect reduces the energy needed for locomotion. Hopping is even more energy efficient than crawling locomotion. Read this article (with explanatory video!) to see exactly how kangaroos can move in such an energy-efficient way.

But how far does the kangaroo hop in one jump?

Adult red kangaroos leap up to 9 m (30 ft) in one jump. That is the length of two cars. The animals jump up to 3 m (9.84 ft) high. Thus, red kangaroos would be able to jump over humans.

Red kangaroos are among the fastest marsupials. This allows the animals to cover large distances in the barren interior of the Australian continent quickly and with little energy. These speeds allow the red kangaroos to travel long distances to reach suitable food and water sources. More on their food and water intake later in this article.

The closest relatives of the red kangaroo (Osphranter rufus) are not the Eastern and Western Grey Kangaroos, but the three other species of the genus Osphranter: antilopine kangaroo, common wallaroo, and black wallaroo. These related kangaroo species often have a similar range to the red kangaroo.

Habitat

large red kangaroo
a red kangaroo in its natural habitat in NT, Australia

The habitat of the red kangaroos consists essentially of the dry regions of Australia that are difficult for humans to manage. These regions are also called "outback".

Distribution area

The red kangaroo lives in Australia. The typical range of the red kangaroo is regions with rainfall between 100 and 500 mm per year. This means that this kangaroo species inhabits the driest regions of the continent. The distribution area is also very large, as more than 80% of Australia has less than 500 mm of rainfall per year.

In which areas do red kangaroos live?

This species of kangaroo inhabits the desert-like areas several hundred kilometers from the coast inland west of the Blue Mountains, to the west coast of Australia. The habitat includes large areas of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, and the Northern Territory.

This species thus lives in the outback of Australia. Therefore, very few people see red kangaroos in the wild.

Habitat and Territory

Red kangaroos are well adapted to dry conditions. The habitat consists of dry deserts and areas around salt lakes. The animals live in areas with low vegetation such as small eucalyptus trees and small mulga trees that are native to outback Australia.

They prefer to live in wide plains. During the day, the kangaroos lie down under one of the few trees in the desert. Due to the large distribution area, red kangaroos do not only live in dry grasslands. They also live in forests and areas near rivers.

This means that the animals are relatively undemanding. They only need enough food and some shade during the hot day.

The home range of red kangaroos is usually within 10-20 km (6.2 - 12.4 mi) of a water source.

Territory sizes

The typical territory size of a red kangaroo is about 150 - 800 ha (370 - 2000 acres). This makes the usual territory size much larger than other kangaroo species. The territory can also be significantly smaller with less than 20 ha (50 acres) if the food supply is good.

The following table shows typical territory sizes (home ranges) for red kangaroos compared to other kangaroo species:

Kangaroo species Typical territory size of the kangaroo species
Red kangaroo 20 - 800 ha (50 - 2000 acres)
Western grey kangaroo 40 - 700 ha (100 - 1730 acres)
Eastern grey kangaroo 20 - 1000 ha (50 - 2470 acres)

The table shows the typical territory size of different kangaroo species. In areas with a large food supply, the territory size is typically small. In areas with a poor food supply, the territory size is often significantly larger.

The territory sizes of the males are much larger than the territory sizes of the females. Especially when a male is looking for mating females, the territory size increases significantly. As a rule of thumb, the territory of the males is twice as large as the territory of the females.

Female kangaroos with a young (either in the pouch or dependent offspring outside the pouch) have a much smaller territory size.

Red kangaroos are sedentary

large red kangaroo standing in the desert
Source: dnatheist, CC BY 2.0 (modified)

Many red kangaroos leave their home range only reluctantly and under certain conditions.

Drought is a common reason that leads to the abandonment of their well-known territory. However, it has been observed that some kangaroos return to their usual territory and home range after the drought ends.

Other animals have been observed finding new territories several hundred kilometres away. The animals often move between 50 and 300 km (31 - 186 mi) from their old territory to discover new, more fertile, areas. In general, male kangaroos are more likely to leave their territory than female kangaroos.

Kangaroos have a sense for better areas

Red kangaroos, however, do not have to hop far to leave their usual territory. Local rainfall can attract kangaroos that actually live many miles away. The new green grass that grows shortly after heavy rain is one of the kangaroos' favorite foods.

Some kangaroos stay in the new area. Other kangaroos move into the more fertile area in the late afternoon to feed and return to their usual territory in the early morning.

Young male red kangaroos in particular like to explore areas outside their usual territory.

Do the territories of red kangaroos overlap?

Researchers have not been able to conclusively determine whether red kangaroo territories overlap.

It is known that the territories of the eastern grey kangaroos overlap, but due to the sparsely populated habitat of the red kangaroos, observation is difficult.

Previous observations showed that the territories of females do not overlap if there is enough space. In denser kangaroo populations, usually in areas with very good water and food supply, overlapping territories have also been observed.

Food and water requirements

kangaroos at a waterhole in Western Australia

The body of a red kangaroo is extremely efficient in its consumption of water. The animals can survive one to two weeks without direct water intake. They are true survivors who defy even adverse circumstances.

Which kangaroo species does best with little water?

Studies have shown that red kangaroos cope better with longer dry periods than eastern grey kangaroos.

This explains why red kangaroos live in the dry outback regions, while eastern and western grey kangaroos live in the wetter regions of Australia near the coast. Researchers found out that red kangaroos have a lower water requirement than grey kangaroos when temperatures are high.

Food

red kangaroo with joey eating grass in the desert

Eating habits vary across the various kangaroo species. What do red kangaroos eat?

Red kangaroos are pure herbivores. They eat young juicy green grasses, older dry grasses, shrubs, as well as leaves.

Researchers in New South Wales observed how kangaroos ate the following plants with decreasing popularity:

Animals of the red kangaroo species prefer to eat green fresh grass. Dry grass is usually only eaten when no better food is available. About 75% - 99% of a red kangaroo's diet consists of grass. The animals love to eat plants with flowers. However, tall grasses are avoided if possible. Acacia and maireana were the least popular plants. Shrubs are eaten mainly in winter when there is little rainfall.

How much food do red kangaroos eat?

What’s the actual amount of food red kangaroos need to eat every day?

An average adult female red kangaroo with a body weight of about 25 kg (55 lbs) requires about 0.59 kg (1.3 lbs) of food per day.

Red kangaroos require about half the feed compared to sheep and goats. In addition, kangaroos require about 20-30% less protein than mammals of comparable body weight. Did you know that kangaroos have a similar digestive system to cows?

How much water do red kangaroos need?

About 30 % of the water requirement is usually taken in through food. In the cool season, the consumption of fresh juicy grasses can even satisfy up to 100% of the water requirement. This is made possible by the high water content in fresh grasses, and the reduced water requirements of kangaroos in cool temperatures.

But how much water do red kangaroos need?

Red kangaroos require 40 ml of water per kilogram of body weight per day under cool conditions, and 100 ml of water per kilogram of body weight per day under high temperatures.

About 75% of kangaroos' body weight is water. Red kangaroos can lose up to 20 % of their body weight in water without any significant consequences. The water deficit can be made up again within a very short time by drinking water.

The amount of water required by red kangaroos is comparable to common wallaroos / euros. Red kangaroos also require only a fraction of the water compared to sheep and cows.

How can red kangaroos reduce water consumption?

At high air temperatures, the greatest water loss occurs through evaporation. This regulates the body temperature.

But red kangaroos have mastered several tricks to reduce their water requirements:

These clevery tricks help the red kangaroo species to survive in the hot and unforgiving Australian desert.

Where do red kangaroos find water?

As already described, kangaroos can take in a certain amount of their water requirements through food. However, for the majority of their water needs, kangaroos must find water sources such as lakes, rivers or waterholes.

In the inland of Australia there are numerous salt lakes. Due to the adapted kidney function, the animals can also use saline water for hydration.

Additionally, humans have helped red kangaroos to survive in the desert.

Due to human activities in inland Australia, red kangaroos are increasingly finding man made water sources.

These waterholes were actually built for cattle stations. They significantly increase the chances of survival in difficult regions.

Traveling long distances to waterholes isn’t a problem for kangaroos. Due to their extremely efficient way of locomotion, covering long distances pays off. This article describes the fascinating locomotion in kangaroos.

When do kangaroos eat?

kangaroos on a field in the evening

Kangaroos are nocturnal animals. Resting as well as searching for food are the main activities of red kangaroos. When do red kangaroos eat?

The search for food takes place mainly at dawn. In the evening, foraging starts at sunset and continues throughout the night.

During the day, kangaroos rest in the shade under a tree and eat only in exceptional cases.

Population

The kangaroo population is mainly affected by diseases, drought and predation. Read this article on the most common causes of deaths in kangaroos.

How many red kangaroos live in Australia?

According to estimates, there are at least 11 million red kangaroos living in Australia.

Red kangaroos inhabit large areas of the Australian continent, yet eastern grey kangaroos easily outnumber their red kangaroo relatives.

The number of kangaroos living in Australia can only be estimated. However, the estimates only refer to areas where the commercial use of kangaroos is allowed. This means that the actual number of animals is much larger. It is estimated that there are about 45 million kangaroos of the larger species in Australia.

The Australian government released kangaroo population statistics for 2011 (source):

State Number of red kangaroos Number of western grey kangaroos Number of eastern grey kangaroos Number of common wallaroos / euros
South Australia 1,158,000 674,000 - 494,000
Western Australia 638,000 1,177,000 - -
New South Wales 3,972,000 496,000 5,258,000 88,430
Queensland 5,745,000 - 10,799,000 3,799,973

This article explains where these numbers come from and why they are only a rough estimate.

Australia's dingo fence protects kangaroos

dingo barrier fence near Bell, QLD
JulieMay54, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Australia's dingo fence shows how predation can affect the kangaroo population. Dingos are enemies of kangaroos. The dingo fence was built in the 19th century to protect Australian farmers and their livestock from dingos and wild dogs. The kangaroo population in the protected area is significantly larger than in the non-protected area.

The kangaroo population is mainly affected by drought, flooding, enemies, old age and diseases. Due to their hopping speed, bushfires are usually not an existential problem for the total population of red kangaroos.

The biggest impact on the kangaroo population is a lack of nutrients that leads to the death of the animal. The lack of nutrients is caused by drought, but also severely worn teeth. Young animals in particular suffer the consequences of drought as they have few reserves. A poor food supply can reduce the survival chances of young animals to less than 15%.

Weak animals also become easier prey for natural enemies like dingos. Weakened animals are also more susceptible to disease.

What influence do humans have on red kangaroos?

The influence of humans is both positive and negative.

On the one hand, kangaroos use man-made waterholes in the arid regions of Australia. On the other hand, kangaroo meat is utilized by humans. Also, kangaroos are hit by cars. This can be fatal for the kangaroo, but also for the people in the car. However, red kangaroos typically live in the most remote areas of Australia therefore readkill is not a crucial problem.

This article describes the dangers and enemies of kangaroos in detail.

Life in the mob

Kangaroos are social animals that live in groups. This group of kangaroos is called "mob". Animals in mobs live together for a long time. This article describes the details of the kangaroo mob.

The social behavior of red kangaroos is difficult to study. One reason is that this species lives in very sparsely populated areas.

Due to the sparsely populated distribution area, the impression arises that red kangaroos are less sociable than grey kangaroos and antilopine kangaroos. But this impression has not yet been clearly confirmed.

About 20% of the animals live alone, 80% of the animals live in a mob consisting of two or more kangaroos.

Typical mob size

The following table shows the typical mob size for different kangaroo species:

Kangaroo species Typical number of kangaroos in the mob
Red kangaroo 3 - 4
Western grey kangaroo 2 - 16
Eastern grey kangaroo 3 - 22
Antilopine kangaroo 3 - 11
Common wallaroo / euro 2 - 3

The table shows that a mob of red kangaroos typically consists of 3 - 4 animals. About 30% of kangaroos live in a mob consisting of two kangaroos. This mob often consists of the mother kangaroo with one young.

The mob size is strongly dependent on the living conditions. In areas with good food supply mobs are significantly larger with 10 - 20 animals.

What animals live in the mob?

A kangaroo mob often consists of relatives and other kangaroos that also live in the area. In the mob there is social interaction and a hierarchy is formed which is especially evident in captive mobs.

The core of a mob are the adult females. They attract the males.

The large dominant males often live alone. The other smaller adult males often live together in small mobs. The not sexually mature juveniles live in the mob together with their mother.

Reproduction and mating

a joey (red kangaroo)
A joey (red kangaroo). Source: Fiver, the psychic, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The reproduction of the red kangaroos is largely identical to the other kangaroo species.

Read this article on kangaroo reproduction to learn more about the general mating habits of kangaroos.

The next paragraphs describe the essential facts of reproduction in red kangaroos:

Sexual maturity

Sexual maturity depends on the sex as well as the living conditions of the animal.

When does sexual maturity occur in red kangaroos?

Female red kangaroos become sexually mature between 15 and 20 months of age. Males reach sexual maturity after about 24 months.

The following table shows when sexual maturity occurs in different kangaroo species according to sex:

Kangaroo species When males reach sexual maturity When females reach sexual maturity
Red kangaroo 24 months 15 - 20 months
Western grey kangaroo 30 - 36 months 14 - 18 months
Eastern grey kangaroo 30 - 48 months 18 - 24 months

The table shows that the attainment of sexual maturity is subject to significant fluctuations. These fluctuations are mainly dependent on living conditions such as food supply. However, it is clearly visible that female red kangaroos reach sexual maturity earlier than both species of grey kangaroos.

Mating and pregnancy

Mating in red kangaroos is similar to that of other larger kangaroo species. But how exactly does mating take place?

Prior to mating, the male follows the female with little distance. Usually the biggest, strongest dominant males in the mob have the best chances to mate with females. The social status within the mob is decided in boxing matches. However, sometimes attempts by smaller males get unnoticed by the dominant males.

But what happens if a female does not want to mate?

If the female is not willing to mate, she may aggressively reject younger and smaller male kangaroos. The dominant males are usually not aggressively rejected. Instead, the female will simply leave and hop away if she is not interested.

How do males find suitable females?

Since red kangaroos live in sparsely populated regions, males have to check the females in a large radius for willingness to mate. Conversely, receptive females enlarge their territories to attract the attention of males.

Male kangaroos can also recognize females that are soon receptive by the fact that they carry large young in their pouch that will leave the pouch soon. Once these young leave the pouch, the females are ready to mate.

How to determine whether a female is receptive?

The male kangaroo sniffs female kangaroos to determine the cycle phase. When the female is in estrus, mating can begin.

Oestrus is a stage in the sexual cycle when the female animal is ready to mate. The estrus of the red kangaroo lasts about 35 days.

For mating, the female bends over while the male leans over the female from behind.

In the reproductive tract of the female, sperm is transported to the egg so that fertilization can occur.

How long are kangaroos pregnant?

Female red kangaroos have a gestation period of only 33 days. This is followed by the birth of a poorly developed fetus that is blind, hairless, about 2 cm tall and not yet recognizable as a kangaroo.

Birth of the kangaroo baby

The gestation period is comparatively short in marsupials. Even in red kangaroos, the birth of the fetus occurs after about 33 days.

Before birth, the female kangaroo cleans the pouch intensively. Increased cleaning of the pouch is an indication of an imminent birth.

Birth position

The female then goes into the birth position. For the birth position, the animal prefers to rest its back against a tree and sit on its hind legs and tail.

How is a baby kangaroo born?

The birth of a red kangaroo is shown in this incredible video:

The fetus leaves the uterus through the birth canal of the mother. The opening of the birth canal is between the abdomen and the tail.

The newborn must now climb independently into the mother's pouch. It is blind, without fur, about the size of a pea, and uses only its slightly better developed front paws to move into the pouch.

This means that kangaroos are not born in their mother's pouch! However, newborns have a strong sense of direction as the inner ear is already developed and so can distinguish between up and down. The sense of smell is also developed.

This is what a newborn looks like after it attaches itself to a teat in the pouch:

a newborn kangaroo joey attached to a teat in the pouch
Source: Geoff Shaw, CC BY-SA 3.0

The journey from the birth canal into the pouch takes between 1 and 4 minutes and is made instinctively without the mother's help. Meanwhile, the mother licks the opening of the birth canal and the surrounding area to remove any body fluids.

This article describes the birth of a baby kangaroo in detail.

As soon as the newborn reaches the pouch, it looks for a teat. The teat provides the food for the newborn within the first months of life.

Life in the pouch

The newborn is now growing in the pouch. It stays attached to the teat continuously for the first 70 days.

At the age of about five months, the animal looks out of the pouch for the first time with its head and begins to nibble on the grass.

It leaves the pouch for the first time at around 6 months, but comes back into the pouch again.

The animal leaves the pouch for good at just under 8 months of age. It still regularly puts its snout into the pouch to drink milk until it is 12 months old.

At the time of weaning, the young has a weight of about 5 kg (11 lbs).

After weaning, a strong relationship between the mother and offspring is maintained, especially in female offspring. Males often separate from the mother when they reach sexual maturity. This article describes how long kangaroos stay in the pouch.

Delayed birth in red kangaroos

Just one or two days after giving birth to a baby kangaroo, the female is ready to mate again. Female kangaroos are therefore, generally speaking, always pregnant. But it would be fatal if the next birth would take place after about 33 days because a young animal is already growing in the pouch.

How does delayed birth work?

As long as a young animal is in the pouch, the pregnancy is paused. The embryo does not develop further than the blastocyst. In the blastocyst, development stops at less than 100 cells. This stops the embryo at a very early stage of development. It remains in the uterus for a few months.

Only a certain signal leads to the further development of the embryo. Only by loss of the pouch young or when the young leaves the pouch due to weaning, the signal for further development of the embryo is generated.

What are the benefits of delayed birth in kangaroos?

If a newborn in the pouch does not survive, the mother can very quickly replace this newborn and maintain the kangaroo population. This is helpful in Australias harsh desert where chances of survivel of the young are as low as 15 % during times of severe drought.

Anatomy of the female

Female red kangaroos are significantly smaller than males. This phenomenon is called sexual dimorphism.

Females have a pouch which is difficult to see. Only when an older juvenile is in the pouch is the pouch clearly visible. The pouch is a fold of skin with an opening. This opening can be controlled by the female through muscle tension.

However, female kangaroos are born without a pouch. The pouch is formed only after birth. Males do not have a pouch. This article describes in detail the pouch of kangaroos.

Anatomy of the males

By the well visible testicles as well as their huge body size, adult males are to be distinguished easily from females.

In males, in the relaxed state, the penis is S-shaped protected in the preputial sac. In the excited state, the penis is extended downwards and forwards.

Apart from mating, the male plays no particular role in raising the young.