Sunday, June 15, 2014
Currently the Kangaroo family consists of 60 different classification of roo's as like to call them, which includes kangaroos, wallabies, wallaroos, pademelons, tree-kangaroos and forest wallabies, however with much of the continent still be unknown and with many creatures recently being discovered the number are continuing to rise. Species in the macropod family vary greatly in size and weight, ranging from 0.5 kilograms to 90 kilograms, the avoid the math ha-ha, from being larger than a human, to the size of a rat.
Kangaroos are herbivorous, eating a range of plants and, in some cases, fungi. Most are nocturnal but some are active in the early morning and late afternoon. Different kangaroo species live in a variety of habitats. Potoroids, for example, make nests while tree-kangaroos live above ground in trees. Larger species of kangaroo tend to shelter under trees or in caves and rock clefts.
Kangaroos of all sizes have one thing in common: powerful back legs with long feet. Most kangaroos live on the ground and are distinguished from other animals by the way they hop on their strong back legs. A kangaroo’s tail is used to balance while hopping and as a fifth limb when moving slowly. All female kangaroos have front-opening pouches that contain four teats. This is where the ‘joey’, or young kangaroo, is raised until it can survive outside the pouch. Much like rabbits, most kangaroos have no set breeding cycle and are able to breed all year round. Because they are such prolific breeders, a kangaroo population can increase fourfold in five years if it has continuous access to plentiful food and water.
Kangaroos have long been important to the survival of Australia’s Indigenous peoples, who have hunted kangaroos for tens of thousands of years for both the meat and the skins, a practice that still in use even today (note: it is not animal abuse to hunt eat kangaroo, they are like deer back in the America). When Europeans arrived in Australia in the late eighteenth century, they too hunted kangaroos for survival.Kangaroos continue to be used as a resource, but only under strict government controls. All Australian states and territories have legislation to protect kangaroos. Only the four most abundant species of kangaroo and small numbers of two common wallaby species can be commercially harvested for export, and then only by licensed hunters in accordance with an approved management plan. These species are the Red kangaroo, Eastern grey kangaroo, Western grey kangaroo, Common Wallaroo (Euro), Bennetts wallaby and Pademelon (a type of wallaby).
Another thing that should be mentioned is that while when we see kangaroos an TV being portrayed as cult-cuddly and innocent creatures that hop around the outback... they aren't. Earlier I had mentioned how almost every living organism in Australia is very dangerous in its own way, well kangaroos are potentially dangerous and deadly in few instances. In fact in some parts of the country (especially in the state of Queensland where I am living), its highly advised not to encounter certain types (specifically the Eastern Greys) of roo's. Male Kangaroo's are very territorial and constantly fight others in order to maintain their status in their family pacts, and are known to drown dogs if they ever felt threatened enough to do so.
There have been a few report cases where kangaroos have attack people whether out of fun or aggression. However this is somewhat rare and I've gone up close to a few without feeling or actually being threatened. Either way Kangaroos are very fascinating creatures. As a kid I have seen them before in zoo's, however it is much more amazing to see them out in the open in their own habitat.