What do they look like? Female Red Kangaroos often are actually blue-grey above with a white underbelly, males are a bright dusty red colour. They are more robust in body shape than Grey Kangaroos but do not reach their height. Females possess a large pouch. Males grow to approximately 90 kgs., twice the size of females.
Where do they live? Red Kangaroos are found throughout the Outback and are both the most abundant and most commonly encountered species. They prefer open, sparsely treed habitat and find adequate shelter at the base of large shrubs but may move into acacia thickets and the trees along the margins of creeks during the height of summer. They prefer short green grass or winter forbs for forage and are most often found on run-on zones such as flood plains of creeks and terminal parts of drainage channels. Their geographic range is generally within the central area of Australia with an annual rainfall of 250 mm or less.
What do they eat? Kangaroos are herbivores and spend the early hours after dawn and the last few hours before sunset grazing on green leaves and grass.
Behaviour: Kangaroos are social animals and congregate in large “mobs”. They are a non-aggressive species. Males can be aggressive during the breeding season. Animals can bound many kilometres in search of food and water.
Reproduction: Female Red Kangaroos become reproductively mature at around 18-24 months and males at about 36 months. However, males compete with each other to mate with females and so only reach a competitive size at about 7 years and are in their prime at around 10 years. Kangaroos can breed all year round. They have a short gestation of only 33 days and the joey weighs only 2 grams when born.
Threats: Kangaroos have benefitted from European settlement in this country. The removal of trees for livestock grazing and the addition of artificial watering holes have increased the abundance of their food and preferred habitat. However, Red Kangaroos looking to graze will often hop over fences and find themselves victims of sheep farmers who shoot them to keep the marsupials from damaging their crops or consuming their sheep’s grass and vegetation. Moreover, great numbers of Red Kangaroos are killed every year for their skins and meat. The red kangaroo’s most notable predator is the dingo.
Conservation Status: Abundant.The Red Kangaroo is not threatened but its abundance is highly variable and it is particularly vulnerable during times of drought when it must compete for scarce resources with feral herbivores.