Animal of the Month
10 Things You Should Know About … Kangaroos
- Kangaroos are marsupials. This means that they aren't pregnant for long, and they give birth when their baby is only about 2 centimetres long. The mother kangaroo then carries her joey (baby kangaroo) in her pouch whilst the baby develops and grows.
- Kangaroos move by hopping, using their powerful hind legs and their large tails to balance. But they can't move backwards.
- Because they eat only plant matter, kangaroos are vegetarians.
- According to a popular story, kangaroos got their name from a misunderstanding. When European people first moved to Australia, they asked the local people what these hopping animals were called. They answered, "Kangaroo", an Aboriginal word meaning "I don't understand".
- Each year, Australia exports 3 million kangaroo skins to Europe and the US. Their skins are used to make products such as footballs and golf gloves. Footballer David Beckham stopped using kangaroo-leather boots in 2006 after seeing a video showing the horrific slaughter of the animals.
- Kangaroos can't move their back legs separately on land and must hop everywhere, but when they go for a swim, they kick one foot at a time.
- Unfortunately for kangaroos, their meat is becoming more popular. Kangaroo meat is eaten in at least 55 different countries around the world.
- Kangaroos live in groups called "mobs" so that they can spot predators such as eagles and humans.
- Kangaroos can hop very fast and jump very high. They have been seen moving at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour and jumping 6 feet into the air.
- Kangaroos like to roam, and they travel with their mob across large areas of land in Australia. They don't often find places to drink, so they have learnt to survive on very little water.
View the previous animal of the month entries here.