Australian Animal Archive

Eastern Grey Kangaroo.

Macropus giganteus (jie'-gan-tay'-us : "giant long foot")

Status: Abundant.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo

The Eastern Grey Kangaroo is a large and powerful marsupial with the male of the species reaching over 1.5 metres (5 foot 3 inches) in height. During the day the Eastern Grey Kangaroo sleeps in the shade of a tree or in dense shrubs.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo's are very social animals, moving and grazing in small groups of 5 or 6 individuals by night. At times many smaller groups will form into one large feeding group of 20 or more. Activity declines after early morning when the kangaroos move from their open feeding grounds to seek shelter from the hot Australian sun.

Spectacular social interactions can often be seen close to the summer breeding peak. The ritual aggression of the males kangaroos. Two rival adult males circle each other on all fours with their backs arched. Then a show of strength is made by ripping up grass and wrestling with shrubbery, coughing loudly and continually eyeing its rival.

Challenges occasionally result in serious and vigorous fighting, with the kangaroos rearing up, leaping, kicking and grappling with their sharp, spread out claws. Stiff-walking and grass tearing are male threats which are common with most other species of kangaroo. Both the male and female Kangaroos stretch to their full height with their forelegs out-stretched when trying to intimidate another.

Males are twice the size of the females. The female reaches sexual maturity at about 18 months of age, whilst the males reach sexual maturity at 2 years. Breeding is continuous throughout the year with a single infant or 'joey' being reared at any one time.

The joey remains in the mothers pouch for the first 9 month and remains close to the mother for a further 18 months. The mother-joey bond is remains strong at least until weaning and a joey newly out of their mothers pouch is very sensitive to separation. If a mother moves away from the joey to quickly, the joey will throw a conspicuous tantrum, clucking or 'tutting' urgently after her and hopping agitatedly up and down.

Up to 1.6 metres in height, strong solid build. Thick, soft fur that varies from light to dark grey-brown.
Wide range of wooded and forest areas with open grazing land.
Grazes open areas from late afternoon till early morning. Usually in small groups but can join with larger grazing groups of 20 or more. Can swim if necessary, generally to avoid predators.
Breeding occurs throughout the year. A single joey is carried in the pouch for 9 months. Stays close to the mother for a further 18 months.
Grasses but also eats herbs and shrubs.
Soft cluking or 'tutting' noise.

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