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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Red Kangaroo

Beauty Of Animals | Red Kangaroo | The family name of the red kangaroo, Macropodidae, means “large foot” in Greek.  With these large feet, kangaroos can travel at speeds of 15 to 25 miles per hour, with short bursts of 40 to 50 miles per hour.  Speed is increased by lengthening the distance of the hop, not the frequency.
STATUS:  These are the most common desert-dwelling kangaroos and, as such, are not endangered.

HABITAT:  This species is found in the arid interior of Australia.  Vegetation is sparse with open grassy plains and scattered trees and shrubs providing shade.

DIET:  They are herbivores, eating young green grasses and herbs.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:  When the sex of one species is markedly larger than the other sex, it is known as sexual dimorphism.  Red kangaroos exhibit this trait, with the male being nearly twice the size of the female.  These animals grow throughout their lifetime so that they reach their maximum size upon their death.   Males are predominately red while females are bluish-gray, the exception being in the outback where both sexes are red to better blend in with the surroundings.  The forelimbs on kangaroos are small, and the hindquarters are heavily muscled for their hopping mode of locomotion.  Their large hind feet have only four clawed digits with the second and third toes fused for grooming.  Their large muscular tails act as a rudder when hopping and as a tripod when combined with the rear feet for standing.
Holy Molars
Kangaroo teeth are subjected to abrasive grasses and leaves while grazing.  As the rear teeth are worn down they move forward in the jaw and are shed, leaving only the rear molars remaining.  The age of the animal can be determined based on the extent of molar progression.

To cope with the heat where these animals live, they lick their wrists. The evaporation of saliva produces significant transfer of body heat and helps keep them cool.
Breeding occurs throughout the year. After a short (33 day) gestation, an embryonic young is born and must make its way to the pouch unaided by the mother.  Breeding and fertilization can occur a day or two after giving birth.   At about 8 months, when the pouch is vacated by the first offspring, the mother will give birth again.  The fat content of the milk will vary for the two youngsters, with the newly born receiving a lower content than the first born. 
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