The red kangaroo is a species of kangaroo also known
by the scientific name Macropus rufus. It is native
to Australia, and can be found throughout the majority
of mainland Australia. Its range excludes the rainforests
in the north, the east coast, and the fertile regions
in the south. The typical red kangaroo habitat is a
mostly open space with some trees to offer shade, including
grasslands, scrublands, and deserts.
The red kangaroo is not only the largest species of
kangaroo, but the largest of all living marsupials and
the largest land-dwelling mammal native to Australia.
An average adult male red kangaroo measures between
4.3 and 5.2 feet in length, including both its head
and its body. It also has a tail measuring between 3.3
and 3.9 feet. Its female counterpart is smaller, with
with its head and body measuring an average of 2.8 to
3.4 feet in length, excluding a 2.2 to 2.8 feet long
tail. Males generally weigh between 120 and 190 pounds,
while females can weigh between 40 and 90 pounds.
An herbivore, the red kangaroo subsists mostly on green
vegetation, especially fresh grass. It has favorite
grasses, but is willing to eat other species when fresh
food is scarce. It is less flexible with the grasses
it avoids; the red kangaroo will avoid some species
of grass even when they are available in abundance.
The red kangaroo has a distinct appearance, with a
large, long, and sturdy tail; large hind legs bent at
a right angle; a large, long body; and small, thin forearms.
It has large eyes and a long snout, causing its head
to resemble that of a deer. The male red kangaroo has
soft, red-brown fur, while females' fur is more gray
As social creatures, red kangaroos typically live in
small groups called mobs that consist of two to four
individuals. In areas with large kangaroo populations
or with scant food, larger mobs often form. Mobs are
fluid and flexible in membership, particularly because
the red kangaroo is not territorial.
Though male red kangaroos are not territorial, they
occasionally fight amongst themselves for social dominance,
a status that mostly affects mating. This fighting,
which is most common among young males, is called boxing.
While boxing, red kangaroos typically stand on their
hind legs and try to knock their opponents off balance
using their forearms, and may wrestle or even support
themselves on their tails in order to kick their opponents
One of the most impressive aspects of the red kangaroo
is its locomotion. A red kangaroo must travel by hopping,
as its legs cannot move independently of each other.
It can hop comfortably at a speed of about 15 miles
per hour, but can reach maximum speeds of over 35 miles
per hour. A particularly remarkable red kangaroo fact
is that it can jump 25 feet in a single hop and leap
six feet vertically into the air.