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Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus) Fact Sheet
Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus)
Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.
Genus: Macropus (Osphranter)
Species: Macropus rufus - red kangaroo
Male: 22-92 kg (49-203 lb)
Female: 17-39 kg (37-86 lb)
Male: 93.5-140 cm (3.07-4.6 ft)
Female: 74.5-110 cm (2.44-3.6 ft)
Male: 71-100 cm (2.4-3 ft)
Female: 64.5-90 cm (2.11-3 ft)
Blue-grey to red on back; white on belly.
|Distribution & Status
||Behavior & Ecology
Arid regions of inland Australia
Prefer open, grassy plains with trees that provide shade. Also use shrublands, grasslands, and deserts.
Least Concern (2015 assessment)
Population in Wild
5.8 million (in 2017)
Hop; foot thump, good swimmers. Tail used for balance.
Rest and feed most of the day. Most active after dawn and before dusk.
Average group size: 2-3 (range: 2-10). Groups ephemeral. Sedentary when possible.
Grasses and other plants
Adult red kangaroos: dingos and humans
Young red kangaroos: foxes, feral cats, raptors
|Reproduction & Development
Females: from 15 months; most around 30 months
Males: from 24 months; 28-39 months or later
About 33 days; young spend 7.5-8 months in pouch
Usually 1; 2 occasionally reported
Varies with drought and environmental conditions. About every 240 days when vegetation is lush. With rainfall, mating resumes within days of giving birth.
1 g (0.03 oz)
Age at Weaning
About 12 months
Up to 27 years
- Largest kangaroo species
- Expend less energy the faster they hop
- Unlike most other kangaroos, male and female red kangaroos have coats of different colors
- Can turn ears 180°
- Dominance established by comparing body size and scent
- Incredible tolerance to heat
- During drought, rain stimulates female ovulation
- Distribution of red kangaroos increased as humans redirected water for livestock and crops
- Populations managed by Australian government; large-scale hunts for kangaroo meat and skins
About This Fact Sheet
© 2011-2019 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. Minor updates to Reproduction, Population & Conservation in 2016. Population estimate updated Mar 2019.
How to cite: Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus) Fact Sheet. c2011-2019. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. http://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/ redkangaroo
(Note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)
Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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