There are four species of kangaroo
Red Kangaroos are the largest marsupial and can grow up to 2 metres. They can reach a top speed of over 65km/h - out-pacing a top racehorse. In one leap they can jump 3m high and 7.6m long.
On land kangaroos only ever move their hind legs together, however in water they kick each leg independently to swim.
Kangaroos are the only large animal to use hopping as their primary method of locomotion. Hopping is a fast and energy efficient means of travelling which allows them to cover large distances in habitats where there is little food and water available.
Female kangaroos can determine the sex of their offspring. They can even delay gestation when environmental factors are likely to diminish the chance of young surviving.
Like all marsupials, kangaroos are born extremely early; the equivalent of the seventh week of pregnancy for humans. They travel from the birth canal as little more than an embryo by blindly propelling through the mother’s fur to the safety of the pouch, where they will spend several months developing before finally leaving to explore the world.
Young kangaroos (joeys) will sometimes jump head first into their mother’s pouch when frightened. Kangaroos have excellent hearing, and like some other animals are able to move their ears in different directions without moving the rest of their head. Kangaroos are social animals which stay in groups of at least 3 or 4 individuals. Some groups can comprise of as many as 100 individuals. There are more kangaroos than humans in Australia. They are the national symbol of Australia and appear on postage stamps, coins, and aeroplanes.
Baby kangaroos are known as ‘joeys’.
A group of kangaroos is called a ‘mob’, ‘troop’ or ‘court’.
It's an urban myth that the name kangaroo is the result of a misunderstanding, and developed from an Aboriginal word meaning "I don't know", or "I don't understand". (That's a popular story, you often read it in connection with names that developed from Aboriginal words.)
Interesting fact: kangaroos mate again as soon after a joey is borne, but the development of the second embryo stops, or rather, is paused after a few days. So in a way kangaroos are permanently pregnant. If a joey is lost, or if one has grown up and left the pouch, they can immediately give birth again.
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