Kangeroo Skips On
Flamingo Land bid farewell to one of our male western grey kangaroos this week as it moved down to Tilgate Park, South of London. Zoos often move animals to different collections to keep the genetics diverse and to prevent inbreeding from occurring.
All kangaroos are native to Australia, and the western grey kangaroo can be found in the south of the country in woodland, scrubland and grassland areas. It is one of the most abundant types of kangaroo.
Despite its name, its fur can vary from being light grey/brown to dark brown in colour, with white hairs around the edges of the ears and a dark tip of the tail. Males are larger than the females in size, with bigger forearms and shoulders, and they can reach 54kg in weight.
The male kangaroos fight to become the alpha male in the group. Using both their forearms and rear legs for fighting, they will strike against their opponent causing damage with their sharp claws and powerful kicks. Their tail provides balance when kicking out with their rear legs.
This species lives in large groups called mobs containing between 40-50 individuals. They would be most active from late afternoon to early morning, therefore usually resting in the day time to keep cool from the hot sun. Its diet would consist of mainly grasses, plus some herbs, leaves, bark and shrubs. They are able to tolerate high levels of some plant toxins.
The kangaroo is excellent at jumping due to its strong legs and maintains its balance due to the help of its tail. When travelling at full speed at around 60km/hour it can jump up to 12 metres. The western grey kangaroo’s ankle is adapted so that it cannot rotate sideways, therefore preventing injury when it is jumping.
Kangaroos are marsupials, therefore give birth to very small, underdeveloped young. They are only a few centimetres long and have to crawl into the mother’s pouch where it will drink milk and spend the rest of its time developing and growing. Once it is around nine months old the joey will begin to stick its head out and gradually climb out of the pouch and spend increasing lengths of time away from its mother.
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