Red Kangaroo

Red kangaroos, found in mainland Australia, are the largest of all kangaroos. They are also the largest terrestrial mammal in Australia. These marsupials are distinguished by the black and white patches on their cheeks, broad white strips extending from their mouth to ears, and long and powerful hind legs and feet. They take the help of their tail along with their legs in walking and running.

Scientific Classification

O. rufus

Table Of Content

Scientific Classification

O. rufus

Red Kangaroo


Length: Male:  51 – 63 in (130 – 160 cm) Female: 33 – 41 in (85 – 105 cm)

Weight:  100 lbs (45.359 kg)

Body and Coloration:  The male and female red kangaroos have different body colors. The bodies of the males are red-brown, and the bottom side and limbs are pale buff, whereas those of the females have a blue-gray color with a brown tinge and a pale grey bottom.

Red Kangaroo Male
Female Red Kangaroo

Range and Distribution

 One can find red kangaroos throughout western and central Australia. Mostly they are sedentary with a well-defined home range. Their weekly home range can be 258-560 ha (640 – 1380 acres). During adverse conditions, they travel about 25 – 30 km in search of food.

Red Kangaroo Range Map
Red Kangaroo Habitat


They mainly reside in deserts, grasslands, and scrublands and are found near places with a lot of forage. Red kangaroos live in open spaces with some trees for shade. During the day, they rest under small saltbushes or mulga bushes.


The diet of red kangaroos mainly consists of green vegetation like fresh grasses, leaves, roots, scrubs, and forbs.


  • Red kangaroos are primarily nocturnal. They are active at night and twilight and rest in the shade during the day.
  • When they are active, they spend their time grazing.
  • They live in large groups with as many as 1500 members.
  • Their community is male-dominated.
Red Kangaroo Image
Red Kangaroos


Red kangaroos living in forests have an average lifespan of 6 -8 years. The ones kept in captivity, like in a zoo, can live up to 20 -25 years if properly taken care of.


  • These animals have powerful hind legs, which help them jump high and take huge leaps. It also makes them very fast swimmers.
  • They have adaptations for living in arid environments. They can store water in their bodies and survive without water for several days. Their kidneys have the capacity to hold urine for long periods. Their urine is more concentrated to prevent losing a lot of water from the body.
  • Red kangaroos also made specific adaptations to survive the scorching summer heat of Australia. They have a large concentration of blood vessels on the skin’s surface. So if they lick their body, the heat blows away from their warm blood.
  • They sweat while moving and pant when they stop.
  • Red kangaroos have a range of vision of about 300⁰ (324 ⁰with about 25⁰ overlap). This helps them in seeing faraway objects. As a result, they face no difficulty covering large distances in a single leap.

Mating and Reproduction

Male red kangaroos can reproduce by 20-24 months, while females can do so by 15-20 months. The babies are born in an immature state after 33 days of pregnancy. They are about one inch tall and weigh 0.035 ounces. After birth, the baby red kangaroo attaches itself to its mother’s nipples for 70 days.

Young males participate in ceremonial boxing, and the winner wins the right to mate with the females. The strongest males control most of the breeding.

Red kangaroos can breed anytime in a year, provided the seasonal conditions are favourable. The males and females do not get to choose their partners. The males had to fight for their mating opportunities with the females. A male can mate with several females in their lifetime.

Red Kangaroo Animal
Baby Red Kangaroo


The most common predator of red kangaroos is the dingo. Dingoes are wild dogs found in Australia. Other predators of red kangaroos are the Tasmanian devil and humans.

The Tasmanian devil was once a dangerous predator of red kangaroos, but these days they have become very few in numbers. Hence, they are no more a significant threat to red kangaroos.

Conservation Status

Red kangaroos are considered to be a “Least Concern” or “LC” species by IUCN. Currently, they are not under any threat of becoming endangered.

Hunters often shoot them down. Farmers also kill them to save their crops.

Roger the Muscle Red Kangaroo
Red Kangaroo Picture

Interesting Facts

  • Male red kangaroos are popularly known as ‘boomers’, and females are known as ‘blue flyers’.
  • Like all Australian wildlife, red kangaroos are also protected by the legislation. Hunting and harvesting them requires a state permit.
  • The largest red kangaroo, named Roger, weighed 200 pounds and stood 6 ft 7 in tall. He was discovered by a man named Chris Barns, who kept him in a sanctuary founded by him. This muscular male red kangaroo passed away at the age of 12.

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